Race Reviews

Strong field shaping up for Haspengouw Rally

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The winter fun is over and the Belgian rally world is preparing for the serious work. The Belgian Rally Championship will get underway with its traditional visit to the Landen region. The 23rd edition of the Haspengouw Rally will be held at the end of February and promises to be an exciting start to the year. The first registrations have arrived and they predict a grandiose, exceptionally strong starting field with a number of top drivers in new cars.

Princen will be back for another year at Rally van Haspengouw but not at the wheel of a VW…

Kris Princen, who will drive alongside with Peter Kaspers once again, did not waste a moment to  reveal his plans. He will drive a new car in his back yard: a Citroën C3 R5 prepared by DG Sport.

“I’m happy to be able to work with this team again, because we had two great seasons together with the Peugeot 208 T16,” says Kris. “I am already looking forward to the start of the first of eight rallies in the BRC in Landen. I will alternate with Peter and Bram Eelbode. Thanks to my partners, such as Dakwerken Crabbe, and to Citroën Racing, who helped to make this happen program possible. ”

There will be another Citroën C3 R5, for a premiere in Belgium. It is used by William Wagner, the French Belgian who has already been in the spotlight in France and in other international competitions. To date, he has never driven in Belgium.

All eyes this year will be on the progress of Grégoire Munster’s commitment to the BRC with the support of Hyundai Motorsport and the Belgian importer of the Korean brand. Bernard’s son, meanwhile two-time Belgian Junior Champion, has already demonstrated his qualities at the wheel of an R5. If he adapts quickly to the Hyundai i20, then Munster will have to be taken into account quickly.

We are delighted with the arrival of Citroën and Hyundai to give a shot at the title, but the Skoda Fabia’s remain in the majority in the BRC 2020. Ghislain de Mevius and Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco, two drivers who quickly registered for the Rally van Haspengouw, already have experience with the Czech car. The surprise is the comeback of Guillaume Dilley with a Fabia from team J-Motorsport. Guillaume will be navigated in Landen by Veronique Hostens, after which Lara Vanneste will also read the notes in a number of heats.

“After a few disappointing experiences, mainly characterized by a series of technical problems, with the DS3 R5 of the Citroën Junior Team in 2016 and with the Hyundai R5 in 2017, I was completely fed up with it. But, the rally virus remained,” says the Brabanter. “Last year I participated in the Rally of Wallonia with a small 208 R2 and after that I helped Jourdan Serderidis a bit in the Condroz. That sparked up the enthusiasm again. The championship announces itself this year with a dozen candidates for the I really wanted to join in. I wanted to return without pressure to perform immediately, with Jourdan Serderidis, the boss of J-Motorsport, my friend Anthony Bourdeaud’hui, but also Lara (Vanneste) and Veronique (Hostens) ), without whom I would not drive, I have found people who are as passionate and motivated as I am. I realize that the rhythm of Fernémont, Princen, the Mevius and Bedoret will be very high. I prepare myself psychologically for a mental thump at the first TK in Landen. I expect that I will get at least a second per km. That is normal after not running for two years. Fortunately, the tests will be new and some of their benefits will be lost. ”

The registration list will of course be further supplemented in the coming weeks. We can also look forward to the participation of 4 Porsches GT3 driven by Romain Delhez, Glenn Janssens (who is switching from Historic to a modern GT3), Gunther Monnens and Robby Moers, in addition to a series of BMW M3s. And we are curious what Patrick Deblauwe will do at the wheel of a Ford Escort WRC …

The registrations will of course remain open on www.rallyvanhaspengouw.be. It promises to be a grandiose spectacle on 29 February near Landen.