With the Condroz Rally, final round of the Belgian Rally Championship getting underway this weekend, here are some notes coming into the event.
Shakedown will be in Ben-Ahin, just like last year. The course uses part of the Rally but run in the opposite direction. The test is open from 12 to 17h and the main participants will be on hand for a few times to get everything going.
After the technical inspection taking place at Garage Schyns in Huy, the cars return to the Service Park, on the Quai d’Arona.At 6:30 pm, the now traditional signature session takes place in the big tent, in the presence of the main rallyers, but also Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul and Bruno Thiry.
FIA Rallies boss, Yves Matton is back for another year in Condroz. He has a long history coming to this rally but as he explains, he hasn’t had the time to prepare for competition – the Benelux Rally Trophy. ““I initially planned to drive a Citroën C3 R5, but if I start in the race, I want to prepare well: to ride the JMC in Jalhay as preparation, to finish a test day, to explore the course … But, when I made my schedule in August, it turned out that I did not have a day off between mid-August and 10th December … I’m constantly on the move abroad, so it was just not feasible to prepare the Condroz Rally properly That is why I chose to drive this year as a “0” car and, if I can choose, then I prefer the Citroën DS3 WRC, which is by far the nicest car I’ve ever driven. “
WRC star Stephane Lefebvre is back in Condroz at the wheel of a C3 R5. It is a rally he knows well as he explains – “It will be my fourth participation in the Condroz. In 2013 I was the first time at the start of the Volant Peugeot 208. I was in the lead, but due to a technical problem I had to give up in the final phase, as a result of which Kevin Abbring took the final victory in the brand cup. And I was second in 2016 with a DS 3 R5, first behind Cédric Cherain with the more powerful DS 3 WRC and two years ago behind Craig Breen It would be nice if it could be a success this year, but in any case the track seems easier than two years ago, there are fewer blind situations, there are more fast, well-arranged strips through the fields. “
Kris Meeke is back in his first competitive rally since the the unpleasantness earlier this year. He will be codriven by Belgian – Renaud Jamoul. His Toyota test was cut short due to early snow but he is looking forward to this rally as he suggests on Facebook – “This is a rally I’ve done before, of course – and in an R5 car – so it’s a good way for me to get back into action as I continue preparing for the 2019 season with Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC. I have to thank Michelin for its support in bringing the Condroz appearance together; this type of thing is only really worth doing if you do it properly, and that means having the right car and the right tyres on it.”