Friday night the sky was still blue, but on Saturday there were several rain showers in the Namur region. The weather conditions were particularly delicate and challenging for the 86 participants who started in the Wallonia Rally. Sportingly, the announced duel between Cédric Cherain and Adrian Fernémont fulfilled all expectations, because after the second stage the difference between them is barely twelve seconds.
After the aperitif at the Citadel of Namur on Friday evening, the serious work began on Saturday morning for the 86 teams that started in this second leg of the Wallonia Rally. After a false start due to the cancellation of the Nettinne-Mohiville test (opponents of the race had poured oil on the track, making part of the road unusable), the fight could only really begin in Natoye.
Cédric Cherain was able to defend his lead during the opening round, but he was eventually passed by Adrian Fernémont, who always made the right choice of tires, despite the very changeable weather: “We are very well informed, both by my team and by friends along the course , “said the regional driver, who is determined to add the Wallonia Rally to his honors list. “I was hoping for rain, because it is the only way to beat the VW Polo R5 from Cédric Cherain. We made the right tire choice every time. They will announce rain for Sunday. I am happy about that, because I absolutely want to be here to win!”
But, Cédric Cherain does not give up either: “I have rarely experienced such difficult weather conditions. It is very difficult, because it can rain at the start of a test, then be dry in the middle of the test to get to the end back soaking wet. We are only at 12.2. It is certainly not done yet. I feel good in my role as a hunter. It is now up to Adrian to defend his lead, as I had to do in Spa. I’m not going to make it easy for him, “laughed the winner of the Spa Rally.
The fight for the third podium place is also very exciting. Ghislain de Mevius only has a 5.4sec margin on Sébastien Bedoret, who made a field trip in Mohiville. Xavier Bouche, fifth, also wants to make a shot at the podium, where he could have stood without a time-consuming slider Last year’s winner, Vincent Verschueren, lost more than a minute this morning due to a flat tire, but the Belgian Champion 2017 is on the rise, keen to displace Kevin Demaerschalk from sixth place Patrick Snijers, Bastien Rouard and Olivier Collard, who complete the top 10 in that order, also experienced several incidents during the course of this difficult stage, in which David Bonjean (sortie), Olivier Cartelle (mechanical) and Cédric De Cecco (idem) had to give up.
Pascal Gaban, thirteenth, is in the lead in the GTs. He is more than 1’30 “ahead of the other Porsche 997 GT3 from Romain Delhez, who lost time due to a flat tire during the last crossing in Nettinne-Mohiville.
At the Juniors, Grégoire Munster dominates the fight, despite a flat tire that took him more than a minute on the penultimate test of the day. He stands for Tobias Brüls and Thibaud Mazuin. The young talents are preceded in R2 by Guillaume Dilley, who makes a nice comeback on a national level with the Peugeot 208.
In Historic we have huge battle. Unfotrunately for Dirk Deveux (alternator), Gino Bux (idem), Guino Kenis have all suffered problems, the latter convincingly dominated until the clutch of his BMW M3 left him in the early evening. Arthur Kerkhove took advantage of this to take the lead with his Ford Escort Mk2, for the identical cars of regional drivers Emile Tollet and Benoit Gillot.
The final day of the Wallonia Rally will be very exciting on Sunday, as the weather changes are announced again and again. The rally opens with the show test in Malonne. The battle starts from 9:25am. After two loops of 4 stages (Malonne, Bois-de-Villers, Crupet and Nannine) the winners are expected on stage around 3pm.