There is always something special in the final round of a Championship. When there is a three way battle, then you know it is extra special. The 2021 Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship is a three way battle between defending Champion Adrian Fernémont / Samuel Mailen, young guns Gregoire Munster / Louis Louka and Ghislian de Mevuis / Johan Jalet. The final duo, just hitting their stride in the BRC. At the end of day 1, where do we stand?
The Skoda driver and defending Champion was leading coming into the Spa Rally. Adrian Fernémont, from near-by Namur skipped the WRC round that shared the Ypres Rally, concentrating on the Wallonian roads. He leads the Championship by 10 points coming into the final round and momentum is on his side, taking the win last time out in the Condroz (in the BRC class).
He took three stage wins in the nine stages run during the very wet Saturday running in Spa. He seems to have the slight advantage as the road conditions worsen and, perhaps, was at a slight disadvantage when SS10 was cancelled. We can expect him to continue to excel on Sunday’s eight stages, as lets not forget, he is a former winner in Spa.
Ghislain de Mevuis started out well both this year and on this rally. Professing to prefer the Wallonian roads, he won the first round in the East Belgian Rally, held not too far from Spa. Proving his worth, he also took the Omloop van Vlaanderen on very different Flemish roads. He sits in second in the Championship, 10 points behind Fernémont and three ahead of Munster, despite the other two being more visible throughout the year.
He started well in Spa in his teal Skoda, winning the first stage. As the conditions worsened, he lost a little pace, taking only the seventh best time on SS5. However, his pace has been quite consistent and he continues to bring the car home undamaged to sit just behind Fernémont at the end of the day.
Gregoire Munster is the new guy, in his first year in a Rally2. Having undertaken some rallies in the FIA European Rally Championship over the Covid period, he comes to the 2021 season, taking his first win in the East Belgian Rally, backing up in the Sezoensrally. Arguably his task for the Championship is made a little tougher this time as he takes a new rally2 Hyundai for this round. The shakedown was very important for him as he sort to get to grips with the new machine.
He took two stage wins throughout the day and led the rally after SS4. He continued his pace after service, with leading times on SS6, however he lost time on SS7 and SS9, which were both run in terrible conditions. He has left himself with the most to do tomorrow, lying 20 seconds off Fernémont and eight seconds off de Mevius. However, the cold and wet conditions are dur to remain, which means that there is everything to play for!
Standings after day 1 (taken from eWRC)
The RacerViews info
By Sam Tickell
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