Top class field lines up for the 2022 Belgian Rally Championship opener


The 24th edition of the Rally van Haspengouw was officially presented on Monday evening in the buildings of Droneport, the beautiful new headquarters of the competition.

Organizer Topspeed Rallyclub Haspengouw presents a strong poster. Almost the entire top of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship is present.
The opening round of the Belgian rally championship can count on a strong poster. “I am very satisfied with the 76 registrations, especially because the quality is also assured,” says chairman Benny Giebens. “With 13 cars in the top class, almost the entire Belgian top is represented, led by defending champion Adrian Fernémont and former WRC factory driver Stéphane Lefebvre. Kris Princen and Peter Kaspers spoil the fans by starting a Citroën DS3 WRC and of course are we are all curious about the first rally of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen. But, there is more. For example, we also count 3 Porsches at the start, we get a prestige battle between Patrick Snijers and Bjorn Syx with BMW’s M3 E30 and there is no more no fewer than 12 BMWs at the start of the M-Cup.”

The match headquarters has moved to Brustem, in the beautiful Droneport buildings. The service area is also located on the grounds of the former airport of Brustem. The stage is located in Hangar 66, where there is also catering for the spectators.

The competition will start on Saturday, February 26 at 8 a.m. on the podium in Brustem. After 12 special stages, divided into three loops of four stages (Walshoutem 15.46 km; Boekhout 10.86 km; Kamerijck 7.91 km and Halle-Booienhoven (14.59 km) the winner will be celebrated on the finish podium at 8 pm.
For the fans, the spectacle starts on Thursday afternoon. For the first time, the Rally of Haspengouw is organizing a shakedown, where the participants can test their cars one last time. The meeting place is Velm, between 13h and 19h, with the first two hours being reserved for the top class cars.

Kris Princen (Citroën DS3 WRC – No 6)

Peter and I, we are very busy professionally and we decided to do fewer races this season, but just for fun. In the past we have had the most fun driving a WRC. Once you’ve tasted it, driving a Rally2 is less exciting. Hence the choice for the Citroën DS3 WRC, which we rented for 4 matches from PH Sport. Are we favorites with that? In any case, the engine has a lot of power, but the chassis is from a previous generation. We will see.

Jonas Langenakens (Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX – no. 18)

I was born and raised in Landen, so I don’t want to miss the Rally of Haspengouw. It remains my home game and a wonderful event. The Mitsubishi is in the same configuration as two years ago. I am aiming for a good result. The rest of the program? We won’t be doing so many rallies, because my son Timo has become a cyclist and of course I follow those races too.

Steve Vanbellingen (Ford Fiesta Rally2 Evo – No 21)

I drove my last rally in 2019, so it’s been a while. I haven’t driven the Ford Fiesta Rally2 Evo yet, but it’s definitely the best rally car I’ve ever raced in. I would like to do a few more rallies this season, but that also depends on the results. I will not be fooled by the times of the top players of the Belgian championship.

Frederik Vandeloock (BMW M3 – no. 36)

After we won the Criterion Championship last year with the BMW 325i E30, we decided to switch to another car. With this BMW E46 M3, which has much more power, we will participate in the M Cup. That competition appeals to me enormously, because it is a pleasant group of comrades and we are at the start here in Haspengouw with 12 BMWs, so it promises to be a great battle. I have yet to discover the car, because it was only ready yesterday. I’m going to build up slowly. The prizes will only be awarded at the finish.
Kris Botson (navigator Jos Verstappen – Citroën C3 Rally 2 – no. 9) After three test days, including a day in the Vosges, we are ready for the start. This project with Jos Verstappen dates back to a year ago. After some private testing on military grounds, we’ve been testing with real notes for the past few weeks. We are curious, but for Jos it is in any case purely for fun.

Johnny Poelmans (Ford Fiesta Rally2 – No 12)

This is my home race that I don’t want to miss. After many engine problems, we sold our Mitsubishi. Through a tip from Kris Botson I came across Christophe Verstaen’s Ford Fiesta R5, which we bought. In 2020 I drove a Skoda Fabia R5 in Haspengouw and that experience convinced me to invest in this Ford. I just want to have fun this weekend.