The 46th edition of the Condroz Rally, the ninth and final round of the Jobfixers Belgian Rally Championship, was dominated by the French ace Stéphane Lefebvre. The battle for the Belgian rally title was extremely exciting behind the Ford driver, until Kris Princen had two flat tyres in Ouffet-Clavier on Sunday afternoon. The title fight was eventually decided in favour of Adrian Fernémont. But circumstances were on edge due to the changeable weather. Stéphane Lefebvre had the rally in his had even though he opted for the less successful tire choice Saturday and Sunday morning.
“We started twice in the morning on tires that were not cropped enough to evacuate the water and mud. Especially Saturday morning it was very treacherous, but the Ford Fiesta R5 MkII immediately gave me a lot of confidence. I had to take fewer risks I could never temper, because Sébastien Bedoret stayed on my heels, “said Stéphane Lefebvre, who came to watch the Condroz Rally as a teenager with his dad. “This victory is great and proves the potential of this Ford Fiesta R5 MkII in such slippery conditions.”
Sébastien Bedoret seemed on his way to second place and the title of vice-champion. He received carte blanche from Skoda to fully attack and he continued to put pressure on Stéphane Lefebvre. Unfortunately, he bought his lust for attack with an off on the very last test, where a little later Vincent Verschueren and Niels Reynvoet also left the track.
Kris Princen started as leader in the Belgian Championship as title favourite, but a wrong choice of tires on Saturday morning immediately blew his start. Princen had to chase, but after six flat tires he stopped the fight on Sunday afternoon. “Only the first flat tire, which already cost us 40” on Saturday, I felt. I have no explanation for the other flat tires. I gave everything, but I can’t start anything against such bad luck, “says Kris Princen.
The title fight was decided in favour of Adrian Fernémont. The Skoda driver from Namur was overjoyed with his first Belgian title, although he made it very difficult for himself in the final test. As a result, he finished in fourth place, as the third Belgian. “I didn’t think too much about the title this weekend, but focused on my own competition. I had already made it difficult after the Omloop van Vlaanderen, where I lost a nearly certain victory due to a broken drive shaft. I had my destiny no longer in my own hands. This flat tire made it exciting- the last test was a lottery. We just drove on ideal line. I am very happy and proud, “laughed Adrian Fernémont.
The two Mevius brothers rode a strong Condroz Rally. Guillaume drove the first best time of the race with his Citroën C3 R5. Due to a flat tire, he lost the lead with the front runners. Due to the flat tire of Fernémont, Guillaume pushed forward to an unexpected second place, ahead of his brother Ghislain. The two brothers enjoyed the podium in the Condroz Rally, under the watchful eye of their father Grégoire.
“Insanely, the ending of this race. I also had a perilous moment in the final test. Yesterday I lost some time due to a sudden rainstorm, our late starting position, and a flat tire. Today everything was fine,” Guillaume laughed. Ghislain crowned a regular season with a third place: “I would have preferred a bit more rain, because I have the impression that in those circumstances I can stay even closer to Sébastien and Adrian,” Ghislain said. Cédric De Cecco, for the first time at the start with a Skoda Fabia R5 Evo, equipped with Hankook tires, finished in a strong 5th place. Better than he had expected, taking into account his lack of racing kilometers.
Xavier Bouche sent the VW Polo R5 from Sébastien Loeb Racing to a handsome 6th place, ahead of Olivier Collard and Davy Vanneste, who drove a Citroën C3 R5 for the first time. Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco, who was the fastest in the final test, finished in 9th place, ahead of Bastien Rouard and Maxim Potty, the circuit driver who also appears to have talent as a rally driver. Vincent Verschueren tasted this weekend for the first time the Volkswagen Polo R5 from THX Racing, a car he will drive next year. He left the track at the last test, making him fall to 21st place. Cédric Cherain left the track early with his VW Polo R5, just like Xavier Baugnet, who put his Polo on the roof. Kevin Demaerschalk, who made a mistake in the opening round, had to give up on Saturday after a double flat tire on his Ford Fiesta.
The thousands of rally fans enjoyed a beautiful final round of the Belgian championship along the banks of the Maas. In the Porsches, Pascal Gaban didn’t have a mate, after the disqualification of Romain Delhez, the flat tires for Fred Bouvy and the back problems with Renaud Verreydt. The victory went to Gilles Pyck in the Junior Championship. After a penalty of more than 3 minutes unexpectedly, because in the last test he still jumped over Thibaud Mazuin, who was driving with mechanical issues. In Historic, the Ford Escorts by Christophe Daco and Patrick De Blauwe scored the double. Dirk Deveux is Historic Champion for the third time, despite a flat tire on the final test.