Big and competitive field lines up for BRC comeback


More than 7 months after the forced break due to Covid-19, the Jobfixers Belgian Rally Championship continues on Sunday with the second round, the Aarova Rally in Oudenaarde. 76 teams are eager for the championship revival. With 23 fast “Rally 2’s”, the former category R5, and a handful of Porsches, the field looks particularly attractive. Certainly because Hyundai Motorsport is putting a real Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC at the start for Craig Breen, who will test run for the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium.

The Belgian rally championship returns to the Flemish Ardennes this weekend. After the cancellation of a few BRC rounds, the Aarova Rally was promoted to the Jobfixers BRC, as the second of six rounds on the 2020 season calendar. The South Belgian Rally, the Condroz Rally, the Renties Ypres Rally and the Spa Rally. As far as the points are concerned, the 4 best results count, achieved in 5 rallies that were nominated in advance of the six rounds on the calendar.

Strong Skoda armada

The Aarova Rally has 3 different special stages on Sunday: De Bruwaan (8.71 km, 4 passages), Maarkedal (8.65 km, 3 passes) and Kruisem (10.14 km, 3 passages), together good for 92 km against the clock between 8h and 17h30.

Rally fans in the chosen public areas will enjoy the impressive speed of Craig Breen’s Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC, which will give a preview of the spectacle that we can expect at the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium from 20 to 22 November. Obviously, Craig Breen is the top favorite, but for the championship the Hyundai driver remains transparent.

The battle for the points promises to be very exciting with 23 R5s at the start. Ghislain de Mevius, the leader in the standings after a win in Haspengouw, is not there. The field is headed by title holder Adrian Fernémont with his Skoda Fabia R5 Evo. Skoda is best represented with 10 R5s at the start, including the official car of Sébastien Bedoret, the Evo’s of two-time winner Pieter Tsjoen and regional pilots Niels Reynvoet, Fred Miclotte and Steven Vergalle. Cédric De Cecco may want to take a shot at the title in the shortened championship. Maxim Potty wants to recover after his sortie in Haspengouw and Jo Muylle already has experience in Oudenaarde with an R5. And from the Netherlands comes the well-known duo Kobus-de Wild, but make no mistake. This time, not Dutch champion Hermen is at the wheel, but his younger brother Gert-Jan, who we saw earlier in Belgium with a Fiesta R2.

The Skoda-armade looks impressive, but every brand has a potential winner in its ranks. After all, Hyundai can count on Grégoire Munster, who was able to drive many kilometers abroad during the Covid crisis, like last weekend in the Portuguese Fafe. The i20 R5 will hold no more secrets for the student.

4 contenders at Citroën

Citroën even has 4 potential winners in its ranks, starting with Kris Princen, who is undoubtedly keen to take the lead in the championship. Teammate Guillaume de Mevius was already strong in Haspengouw, but he was not happy in the final phase. Cédric Cherain, recently convincing winner on the Monteberg, also opts for a C3 R5, while Davy Vanneste on the Monteberg was even faster in the initial phase than Cédric Cherain.

But, Vincent Verschueren is tipped as a favorite in the Flemish Ardennes. The regional driver has already won the race twice with his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. On this course, Verschueren knows which set-up he needs to make the Volkswagen competitive. There will also be three Polos at the start, with regional rider Jean-Baptiste Broekaert, Henri Schmelcher and Briton Meirion Evans at the wheel.

#14- -Snijers Patrick,&,Thierie Davy- -Porsche 997 GT3- -East Belgian Rally, Belgian Rally Championship- -Sam Tickell with RacerViews

Bernd Casier’s comeback

And the impressive list of contenders is still not complete, because Bernd Casier will make his comeback with a brand new Ford Fiesta MkII R5, a type of car that we already saw shine in Roeselare last year in the hands of Kevin Demaerschalk. The fast Dutchman Jim van den Heuvel, Jasper’s younger brother, will also start a Fiesta R5, just like Jimmy D’hondt and Christophe Devleeschauwer.

In addition to the R5s, we also expect a lot of spectacle from the Porsches. There will undoubtedly be a hard kick with Gunther Monnens, Andy Lefevere, Patrick Snijers and Tim Van Parijs at the start. Van Parijs, whose company is located on De Bruwaan, will absolutely want to win for its own audience. Furthermore, the spectacle will be provided by the fast BMWs of the M Cup, the youngsters from the Junior BRC, the trendsetters from the Historic BRC and of course the participants in the RACB Criterium.

Appointment on Saturday from 19h30 for the ceremonial start on the Market of Oudenaarde, after which the teams park their cars in the city center in the closed fleet. The serious work starts on Sunday from 8am. After 10 special stages, the winner will be known around 17h30.