Verschueren dominant in the 6 Uren van Kortrijk


Vincent Verschueren was never going to be denied the win at the 6 Uren van Kortrijk. From the opening stage on Saturday night, he dominated proceedings.

With 149 entries, the popular end-of-season run around the Flemmish city of Kortrijk was going to be a great end to the year. It was as such with big crowds braving the cold and damp conditions to create the party atmosphere.

Verschueren, coming off a narrow Belgian Rally Championship loss was determined to find the speed in his Skoda Fabia R5 that was missing in Condroz and show his sponsors a good run – all important for the 2019 campaign.

And he started in the right way by taking 26 seconds to Patrick Snijers in Saturday night’s first stage.

Sunday would see 13 more stages with a total distance of 79.2km. The conditions were tough with narrow, wet tarmac and plenty of mud from the cuts the drivers make.

Running order was not advantageous for Verschueren, as the modern cars ran behind the classics on the road.

Despite this, he took 10 stage wins on Sunday, only losing SS9 to Snijers and SS14 to the Citroen DS3 WRC of Didier Duquesne. Stage 6 was cancelled, meaning Verschueren took all bar two stage wins.

He won by 1:20 from Snijers who gave up his Porsche that he had campaiged for the year in favour for a Skoda Fabia R5. Despite being off the pace of Verschueren, his second place was never in danger.

At the stop line for the final stage, Duquesne was third in his Citroen but was handed a 1:20 penalty to drop him to seventh. This handed Davy Vanneste third in the Ford Fiesta R5.

Paul Liaiter who won the Hisoric BRC title this year stepped into his Skoda Fabia WRC and was looking on for a podium except for a small engine issue at a stage start cost his 40 seconds and a spin cost him another 20, meaning he would take 5th overall.

Leading the RGT runners was Andy Lefevere who was 8th overall.

Historic Youngtimes was taken by the BMW MW E30 of Thomas Vauterin who outlasted the Toyota Celica GT4 of Vanwijnsberghe, with the BMW taking the win by 36 seconds, though it had been tight throughout the rally.

Historic Oldtimers was taken by the Volvo 240 of Fonteye who had a commanding 2:25 gap over the Ford Escort of Oosterlinck.

In the Flanders International Rally Challenge, it was the Escort of John Reddington who took the win. The Peugeot 306 of Simon Taylor was showing well but retired mid way through the event.

Overall though, Verschueren was having fun. Without the pressure of the BRC to contend with, he was able to capitalise in a near faultless run. Hailing not too far from Kortrijk, it was an important rally, with many coporate guests on hand.

Additionally, it gives him important momemtum going into the 2019 season with the Rally van Haspengouw getting the BRC season underway in late February.

For the 6 Uren van Kortrijk, it was indeed a success, with the city once again embracing the rally and putting on a good show and showing lessons that could be used in other rallies across the world.

Full results are available here

Sam Tickell