If the Omloop van Vlaanderen was a gutting exit for Adrian Fernémont, then the East Belgian Rally was sweet redemption. The East Belgian Rally was the second-last round of the JobFIXers Belgian Rally Championship, located in St Vith, the German speaking part of Belgium. Its flowing mountain roads were distinctly different to those found in Flanders but Fernémont was the pace setter.
On the Omloop van Vlaanderen, Fernémont held a 22 second lead going into the final loop but he was to be denied by a mechanical issue on the road section to the final loop.
With that memory fresh, his start to the East Belgian Rally was nothing short of phenomenal. The first stage, the 12.72km Büllingen stage, was held in awful conditions with rain and wind lashing the stage. But this did not deter Fernémont who immediate took a 7 second lead over his nearest rival and took a second a kilometre out of Kris Princen, his Championship rival.
“It was really difficult out there, the rain made it so difficult. In the first loop we made the right tyre choice so we could then control the rally in the second and third loops. It was a good rally for us and our second win this year in the Belgian Rally Championship.”
“Today I made the right tyre choice as well”
His form would continue, taking seven of twelve stage victories and never being headed. Just to confirm his dominance, he took the final stage, run in the night to confirm a 15.5 second win from Ghislain de Mevius and a further 22 seconds to Sebastian Bedoret.
Importantly, he now sits third in the Championship and stands a great chance of taking the crown, should he win in the final round – the Condroz-Huy Rally.
Princen leads on 86 points from Bedoret on 84 and Fernémont on 78 but only the best six scores count for the Championship. Both Princen and Fernémont have scored five times compared to Bedoret who has scored six times. The crux of the matter is that if Fernémont wins next time out, Princen has to finish second – or the title goes the way of Fernémont.
“There maybe a lot of other drivers from outside Belgium for Condroz but we will fight for victory!
“If we win and Kris finishes third, we are Belgian Champions – I will do my best.
“It is all to fight for!”
The win in St Vith does go some way to make up for the disappointment of losing the rally before.
“Yes! What you also have to know is that we have the old car from 2015 and we are competing against the new ones now.
“I like the old car. The new car is a little too difficult to drive on tough conditions. It moves a little bit. I know my car perfectly and I have driven it for two seasons so if I have to make a setup change for the rain, I know exactly what it will do.
“With this I could win.”
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By Sam Tickell
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