Fernémont takes thrilling Rallye de Wallonie


The fifth round of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship was also only decided in the last meters, after an exciting battle that lasted two days. In the end Adrian Fernémont won the exciting duel against Grégoire Munster. With this victory, the 2019 champion also takes the lead in the standings of the Kroon-Oil BRC.

The Rally of Wallonia, a classic held in Namur and the surrounding area, is normally held at the end of April, but due to the Covid crisis, the race was postponed to the autumn. The race was also shortened from three to two days, but all expectations were fulfilled on the 15 special stages. The match was extremely exciting for two days, because the tenors did not give each other an inch.

After a double pass at the Citadel on Friday evening, Grégoire Munster was allowed to start the second stage as leader, but his lead was barely 0″2 over Adrian Fernémont, who immediately cut a gap of 8″5 on Saturday morning in the 22 km opening stage in Mohiville . It would ultimately prove to be the decision in the race, because on the remaining tests the tenors, including Cédric Cherain and Cédric De Cecco, continued to clock insanely fast times, but the differences remained minimal. Grégoire Munster came back to 4″7 with two more stages to go, but Adrian Fernémont kept his cool and won 5″5 over his closest pursuer.

“What a race. Just like in 2019, I made the difference on the first test of the day. After that I could check a bit, but on the final lap I suddenly had engine failures. On the last test I even switched off the poker shift. So it was not at all certain to win, but this first victory is very happy,” a clearly emotional Adrian Fernémont, again perfectly assisted by Samuel Maillen. The home rider from Vedrin also takes the lead in the Kroon-Oil BRC with 81 points, 2 points more than Ghislain de Mevius, who forfeited to witness his best friend’s wedding.

Grégoire Munster pushed himself to the limit, but this time the 22-year-old Hyundai driver had to be content with second place after a performance of which he can be very proud. “And yet… the second is the first loser. No, I’m not a good loser. We fought hard for it, but we lost the match on the first test Saturday morning because I tried a gamble with cross-mounted sticks and wet tires That made the car unstable.

Cédric Cherain, with an “older” version of the Skoda Fabia Rally2, was in full battle for victory until the final lap. The resident of Liège took all risks, but he had to resign himself to third place at just 17″7, after 170 km against the clock. “Look, we attacked insanely hard. In Crupet, the fastest stage of the day, I was also the fastest on the last stage. I clearly have less rhythm than Adrian and Grégoire, because I barely drove this season. So, I can agree with this result. See you in the Condroz Rally and in the Spa Rally, where I will start with more rhythm.”

Cédric De Cecco rode in fourth position all day and he finished in that position too, at just over a minute. “Because the Skoda I normally drive was destroyed, I had to come here with a Citroën C3 Rally2. After a few runs on the shakedown, I had to discover the car in the race. It made sense that I left some time in the beginning, but it level was very high today. I never drove faster than today, never took more risks. I deserved a podium, but today three were a bit faster. Bravo to them!”

That feeling was shared by Bastien Rouard, the regional driver who drove his Ford Fiesta Rally2 all day in fifth place. Unlucky in the top class were Harry Hérion, who put his Skoda on the roof in Eghezée, and Nicola Stampaert, who had to retire early in the race with a broken transmission.

In the GTs, there was no size for Olivier “Flash” Collard. On his debut with Francis Lejeune’s Porsche 997 GT3, the Marche driver took a brilliant sixth place overall. Glenn Janssens came in 7th overall, but the East Fleming was impressed by Collard, who turned out to be a size too big. Behind Henri Schmelcher, 8th with BMA’s second Hyundai i20 Rally2, Benoit Verlinde won the Clio Trophy classification after an exciting battle. The young fellow from Ardooie was 5”5 faster than Tom Rensonnet, the RACB National Team rider, while Gilles Pyck finished in third place.

The winner in the Junior BRC was Thibaud Mazuin and Dirk Deveux took the maximum points in the Historic BRC. In the RACB Criterion there was no match for regional driver Manu Bouts with his BMW.