A sunny late summer day attracted many spectators to the opening day of the ConXioN Omloop van Vlaanderen, the third round of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship. The spectators got their money’s worth as the battle on the 7 special stages of the first stage was particularly exciting. Finally, Ghislain de Mevius, the championship leader, goes into the night with a margin of 3 seconds over Sébastien Bedoret.
It was expected that it would be exciting, but that Adrian Fernémont and Vincent Verschueren clocked exactly the same time on the first special stage De Ruiter was a surprise. It would be a battle for every second up front and in the end Ghislain de Mevius was the fastest. He is 3″ ahead of Sébastien Bedoret, the winner of the 2019 edition.
“I opened the course and that turned out not to be a real disadvantage. I can assure you that it is going very fast. We have not missed anything and yet the differences remain very small,” laughed Ghislain. Sébastien Bedoret is happy with his second place: “It’s my first race in the Kroon-Oil BRC together with Hans Delorge and it’s going great. I made a small mistake here and there, but that’s not about seconds. The rhythm of the WRC moto in Ypres certainly helps us here.”
Vincent Verschueren even thought that driving was faster than in Ypres: “I feel better, the car is better and yet I cannot make the difference. I think the driving is even faster than in Ypres. Really, I am very satisfied , because today our Polo GTI was better than ever.”
Verschueren is third at 8″1, while Adrian Fernémont follows fourth at 14″7, the first not to start in Ypres. Niels Reynvoet follows in fifth place at 21″5, although the East Fleming had some problems with the pop-off valve at the beginning of the race. Grégoire Munster lost 25″, partly because he missed a lightpod and therefore less visibility in the dark. had good visibility, while Kris Princen follows at 31″1. Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco started the race with brake problems. The winner of the previous round of the Kroon-Oil BRC follows at 48″ in his home rally.
In the GTs, Andy Lefevere had to give up the fight after a cannon start due to an engine breakdown. Gunther Monnens sent his 991 GT3 to 9th place. Glenn Janssens, who has to rebuild confidence after his sortie on the final day of the Ypres Rally, follows in second.
In Historic Stefaan Stouf gave up after a good start with engine breakdown. Bjorn Syx seemed to end the day as leader, but a minute penalty due to a mistake in clocking in, cost him the lead. For the time being, this is in the hands of Pieter-Jan Maeyaert, who is enjoying the kilometers at the wheel of Mats van den Brandt’s BMW M3 E30. Paul Lietaer has dropped to third place due to brake problems.
There is no limit to Gino Bux in the Stellantis Rally Cup. In the Clio Rally Trophy, Tom Rensonnet leads the position with a 7″8 lead over Benoît Verlinde.
The second stage of the ConXioN Omloop van Vlaanderen still has 12 special stages, with the final stage in Beveren being the Pirelli Powerstage.