PJM Cracco takes surprise first BRC win on Rally Ypres


The participants in the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship have once again proved how high the level of the Belgian Rally Championship is. In the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, the first Belgian rally that was allowed to join the FIA ​​World Rally Championship they took three of the top 10 places…overall!

Competitor is seen on performing during the World Rally Championship Belgium in Ypres, Belgium on August 14, 2021 // Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202108140419 // Usage for editorial use only //

From the start of the race on Friday afternoon, the Belgians were in the right rhythm and the battle at the front was very exciting. Davy Vanneste, one of the outsiders with his Citroën C3, opened with two fastest times, but a little further he was surprised and the Citroën dived into a canal. Sébastien Bedoret took the lead, but the gap after the first lap was barely 0″7 on Vincent Verschueren, with the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 from GoDrive.

Sébastien Bedoret finished the first day as the leader and he was even on the edge of the top 10 overall. Still, he couldn’t relax yet, because he was barely 5″2 ahead of the surprising Pieter Jan-Michiel Cracco. Kris Princen also had his say in the BRC, just 12.5 seconds from Bédoret. Princen was already glad he could still compete for victory after an impressive slide on the Kemmelberg stage: “We went around in fourth gear on the Kemmelberg, without hitting anything. Unbelievable that we are still there, because on these narrow lanes you are usually permanently out,” Princen said honestly.

The losers of the first day were Maxime Potty, who felt the engine of his Ford Fiesta break down, but especially Grégoire Munster, who went off the track on the Kemmelberg with his Hyundai i20 R5 and lost more than 4 minutes: “I just had my first stage win in the BRC when I was surprised by a lot of dirt on the track after an off by Teemu Suninen. Exactly in my braking zone. I couldn’t stop in time and we slid into a ditch. Then the tire turned out to be flat and we had to change the wheel yet. A good result has been lost…”

On Saturday the battle continued at the front, but we soon lost to Pieter Tsjoen, who parked his Volkswagen Polo GTI in a house. Kris Princen lost touch with the leading group again due to a flat tire. Ghislain de Mevius felt very flu and did not have the energy to fight back.

Sébastien Bedoret took a nice 23-3 lead over the surprising Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco. The Skoda driver looked set to take a stunt win: “It’s going fast, but I don’t feel like I’m going over the limit,” said Bedoret, who was navigated by Gilbert François for the occasion: “We had prepared well and I am driving at my own pace, as efficiently as possible. The preparatory races we drove already gave a good feeling, which is confirmed here, but we still have to pay attention, because the stages are running smoothly…”

Unfortunately for Bedoret, the mechanics failed on Sunday morning. The final day, held on and around the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, with about 40 km against the clock, ended in minor for Bedoret, who had only two driving wheels due to a broken transmission. Bedoret tumbled from first to third, behind Vincent Verschueren.

The victory, his very first in the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship, went to Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco, navigated by Jasper Vermeulen. They were clearly the revelations of the match.
“This is unbelievable! Never dared to dream. You know, I was very nervous last night. I slept maybe two hours. I couldn’t calm my body from an overdose of adrenaline, but it didn’t bother me today,” Pieter laughed. -Jan Michiel Cracco. “We drove at our own rhythm all weekend, without looking at the score much. I never thought I would participate for the win. But, just like in the South Belgian Rally, we were right at the front,” said a touched Pieter-Jan Michiel, who naturally thought of his father Philippe, who died much too early: “Daddy would have been so proud of this!”

Second place went to Vincent Verschueren, who was also very satisfied with that: “It was an incredible experience to be able to ride against those big names in our own country. Only by competing at a high level can you reach your own level. I am satisfied, but the Polo was just not stable enough in the fast situations. This VW is made to be adjusted as low as possible on asphalt, but because of the deep cuts in Ypres we have to put it higher and then it is less efficient.”

Sébastien Bedoret was third, ahead of Bernd Casier, who crowned a very regular race with a handsome fourth place. Ghislain de Mevius remains the leader in the championship standings. Despite his puncture, he finished in 5th place, but he was also second fastest on the Pirelli Power Stage, earning a four point bonus. The scratch on the Pirelli Power Stage was achieved by Grégoire Munster, who set an 8th time overall with his Hyundai i20 R5.

Cédric De Cecco steered his Skoda into 6th place, ahead of Grégoire Munster, who also made a good comeback, and Kris Princen, who lost too much time due to a puncture.

We also mention that Adrian Fernémont forfeited, as did Niels Reynvoet, who damaged his car too much in a final test to participate.