The title battle in the Jobfixers Belgian Rally Championship 2018 will remains exciting and could be decided only on the final stage.
This was after another great fight in the 59th ConXion Omloop van Vlaanderen, which was held this weekend in Roeselare. With 12 fastest times on 17 special stages, Kris Princen put in a strong performance to take the win. With his third win of the season, the Limburger is just 4 points from his title rival Vincent Verschueren who finished second, 18.2 seconds behind.
“I think I was slightly stronger than Vincent this time, because I was always a bit quicker, but I had to keep on attacking, because the gap was never big enough, especially because I had a small spin on Zilverberg on Saturday afternoon. that cost me a small 10 seconds” Princen said, just 4 points off the Championship lead, with two more rallies for the Belgian championship.
Vincent Verschueren acknowledged that Princen was a fraction faster this weekend. “A few small details were not quite right for us: in the final phase the pop-off valve opened, which caused a loss of power, in the beginning the setup was not optimal. There were little things to be able to win from Kris, because it is always a battle between us and the fact that the last test was not driven because the safety car had a flat tire, did nothing to change it. It will be a fight in Sankt-Vith for the East Belgian Rally! ”
The third place went to a very satisfied Adrian Fernémont, who came for the first time in Roeselare with an R5. “My goal was to gain experience with a view to next season, because then I would like to challenge for the title with the Skoda, the difference with Verschueren and Princen was smaller than in Ypres, so I am very satisfied. The next two rallies should be better for me, and I’m going to try something,” Fernémont said, holding Sébastien Bedoret off the podium. The young 22-year-old Skoda rider became very handsome 4th: “And I got my first stage win in the Belgian championship, that was my goal this weekend and I succeeded in Houthulst! Nice that I succeeded, because three years ago I drove. in the Omloop van Vlaanderen – my first national rally. ”
After the exit of Andy Lefevere, who started very fast on Friday-evening, the mistake of Kevin Demaerschalk, who lost a wheel of his Citroën C3 R5 and the flat tire Bert Cornelis immediately took a few minutes, was fought for the fifth place between the fastest Porsches.
It was a hard fight, finally decided on Gunther Monnens in his advantage on the penultimate test. The pilot from Bocholt won 8 “ahead of Patrick Snijers, who struggled to secure the Belgian GT title in Roeselare, and it seemed that he would have to wait with the champagne, but Gunther Monnens clocked 3 minutes late at the marshall park at the start of the stage, because he first stopped at his service team. This cost him the 5th place and now provides Patrick Snijers with certainty about the Belgian title in R-GT. Another Belgian title for the 7-time Belgian rally champion. Tim Van Parijs finished in third place with the Porsche drivers, after he had problems in the morning.
A broadly smiling Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco sent his Ford Fiesta R5 to 7th place, just 2.9 ahead of Melissa Debackere in her Skoda Fabia R5. Robin Maes closed the Top 10 with his Skoda Fabia R5, after experiencing steering problems int he morning.
In the Pirelli Junior BRC the fight was decided by flat tires. Grégoire Munster was heading for victory, until he leaked in Passendale, just like Glen Snaet, second at the time. The victory went, for the second time this season, to Gilles Pyck, who was always in contention for the win. Munster, who will not start in the East Belgian Rally, could still limit the damage with a second place, for Vertommen and Snaet, while Reynvoet had to give up on the penultimate test by a cardiac break.
In Historic, Paul Lietaer impressed again, until Saturday afternoon at Zoning he made a hard hit by an oil spill from another participant. Danny Kerckhof did not have the chance to win the match, ahead of Jens Maes in his Opel Ascona.
The next round of the Jobfixers Belgian Rally Championship, the East Belgian Rally in St. Vith, will follow on September 29th.
Words from PR, originally in Dutch. Photos and translation by Sam Tickell