Lefebvre leads at the end of the first day in the Condroz Rally


The first stage of the 47th Condroz Rally ended a bit earlier than planned. After 10 of the 12 special stages, the teams returned to the service park along the Maas in Huy. For safety reasons, the last two tests, Wanzoul-Bas-Oha and Héron-Lavoir, were cancelled. Frenchman Stéphane Lefebvre goes into the night as leader, but his lead over Adrian Fernémont and Grégoire Munster is minimal. Everything remains possible on the final day, because there are still 6 stages on the program, including the closing Pirelli Powerstage where additional points can be earned.

With five fastest times, Stéphane Lefebvre, navigated by Renaud Jamoul, was the best performer of the day, but after a mistake in Strée, his lead is limited to 7″9 over Adrian Fernémont: “I found mud on the inside of the corner pulled and had to go through the field for a while. In total we lost 8″. I wanted to make the difference, but I couldn’t. We drove at a tight pace and controlled the race. It remains exciting.”

Adrian Fernémont does not look too much at the times of the French leader, who is transparent for the Belgian title fight. The leader in the Kroon-Oil BRC should especially watch out for Grégoire Munster, who is barely 0″4. “It was important to be well placed against our title competitors tonight. We are in the lead, so I can be satisfied. Everything remains possible, as it has been very exciting all season.”

Grégoire Munster is aiming higher: “We are at 8″3 of the Stéphane Lefebvre. Of course I just want to win here. You don’t just give away a victory in the Condroz, even if Lefebvre does not play a role in the title fight.”

Ghislain de Mevius will undoubtedly go into the night with mixed feelings. In Villers-le-Bouillet, KP 4, the Skoda driver slid off the track in one of the last muddy corners. The car went all the way around its axis after a blow into the bushes, but the loss of time was limited to 10″. He is fourth at 16″1 from the leader. “Without the mistake we would have been in the lead with the Belgians. Very unfortunate, because I got caught in a place that we clearly had in the notes as a trap. I thought I slowed down enough, but the mud was even slippery than I thought. In the end we can be happy that we are still on track, because for the same money the wheel had broken off…”

Vincent Verschueren follows with his Volkswagen in a nice 5th place at 36″6. Cédric Cherain, who only started 11th and therefore lost time because the track was already full of mud after the passage of the first cars, made a disastrous morning this morning tire choice. Then he fought back strongly to end the day in 49″ and 6th place: “The choice for hard slicks was really the wrong choice this morning, because on three stages we lost 29″, more than half of our late this evening. We gave the best of ourselves all day long. It’s a pity that the last two tests in the dark were cancelled…”

Cédric De Cecco, who, like many others, pushed straight on in the last corner on the last stage in Villers-le-Bouillet, had to give up his 6th place to his buddy Cédric Cherain. After a good start, De Cecco follows with his Citroën C3 at 1’02″8, ahead of Sébastien Bedoret, who had to give in with his Skoda 1’21″7. “I don’t find the right set-up. Very frustrating, because I have the feeling that I am riding well, but the times are not following…”

The Top 10 is closed by Kris Princen and Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco, both with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.

In the Junior BRC, Charles Munster is the leader after the first day, but in the Stellantis Rally Cup Gino Büx continues to dominate. In the Historic BRC, Bjorn Syx leads the standings with his BMW M3 E30. Dirk Deveux had to give up, as did Didier Vanwijnsberghe. And in the Clio Trophy Belux, Gilles Pyck is in the lead, ahead of Tom Rensonnet and Benoit Verlinde, the only one who can still keep Gilles Pyck from the title.