Kris Princen won his second Belgian Rally Championship title last year after a titanic struggle with Verschueren.
Then they were both in Skodas. Now, Princen has updated his kit to a new Volkswagen Polo R5.
Though only having spent two days in the car Princen has already identified the areas that differ from the Skoda.
Afterall, the Volkswagen went through a development phase that would be the envy of some WRC class machines.
“It is difficult to say – it is maybe little bit better in small areas. The engine has a little bit more torque. There is no understeer. The Skoda has a natural understeer. The Volkswagen doesn’t have that.
“So in many small ways, it is better.”
Defending Belgian Rally Championship Champion Rallydriver Kris Princen is back but with Volkswagen Motorsport. We caught up with him before the Rally van Haspengouw
Posted by Racer Views on Friday, 22 February 2019
The BMA team are running his and Snijers Volkswagens and will be a force to be reckoned with. It is a challenge he is looking forward to though.
“We will see. We have a very good feeling with the Polo in roads like Haspengouw – it feels very good.
“I am sure it will be a tight fight on each rally and that makes the competition nice for us, for the spectators – for everyone.”
Whatever the result, the arrival of Volkswagen is hugely significant for R5 rallying in Belgium and around the world.
Over the past few seasons rallying has turned into a two horse race between Skoda and M-Sport, with the latter yielding their ground as they develop their new car.
The fields have been dominated by Skodas so the arrival of the Volkswagen is important.
“We had the opportunity with BMA – they had two Polos. In Condroz there were 18 Skodas. Now there are Polos, Citroens and Skodas.”
For the JobFIXers Belgian Rally Championship opener – the Rally van Haspengouw, it will be flat out.
The weather has been kind to the competitors with sunny and warm conditions to the leadup and that is meant to last for the weekend.
“Everyone will go flatout from the first stage. You have to find the rhythm that is flat out from the beginning.”
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By Sam Tickell
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