There is no doubt about it, Stéphane Lefebvre is not coincidentally the Belgian Rally Champion of 2022! In the course of the afternoon and early evening, in which six stages were contested, the Frenchman gave Grégoire Munster three best times in the Citroën C3 Rally2 of DG Sport Compétition, but in the final passage of Stavelot-Coo he benefited from a small mistake of his rival. The result: a slightly bigger bonus at the start of the second and decisive stage…
In addition to his performance on the asphalt, the calmness with which Stéphane Lefebvre has finished this race day is particularly striking. Even when Grégoire Munster (Hyundai) posted a better time and came a handful of tenths of a second closer. His lead over the recent WRC2 winner on the Japan Rally was around 15 seconds, but the Béthune driver went on the offensive during the third pass at Stavelot-Coo, in the dark… while Munster made a small mistake and straight shot! The result was a gift of 14”0 to Munster, suddenly making the gap 25”5.
Of course, the match has not fallen into its decisive fold. After all, the most difficult stages of the Spa Rally 2022 will take place on Sunday. There is, among others, the KP of Theux, particularly narrow and equally treacherous, which serves as a Pirelli Power Stage! It is therefore a matter of waiting for the arrival of the ultimate test to get to know the palmares of the final of the Kroon-Oil BRC 2022. Stéphane Lefebvre does of course have the bookmakers on his side.
“This test in Spa was clearly the biggest challenge of the day”, said Stéphane Lefebvre at the last TK on Saturday. “I had the impression that Grégoire wanted to recover after his mistake in the previous test. I have taken fewer risks. It was a positive day, but tomorrow’s stage promises to be very delicate…”
Grégoire Munster ended the first day with a scratch… “In Stavelot-Coo I didn’t make the ideal tire choice, but I flirt with my quota”, explained the BMA driver. “I therefore had less grip than expected and dropped a stitch. It is now… I look forward to tomorrow!”
In the wake of the two leaders, the battle rages… and Maxime Potty has disappeared from the standings. His Citroën C3 Rally2 had a problem with the exhaust. An increasingly impressive Jos Verstappen (Citroën) is thus the man in third position and he was often in the top 3 during the tests. He retains the advantage over Cédric De Cecco (Citroën). Max Verstappen’s father, with co-driver Renaud Jamoul, is 2’03”9 behind, good for a 29”7 margin over De Cecco, who will defend CRT’s colors at the end of the season.
Outside the top 4 there is a lot of news to report. In the last passage in the Spa test things went wrong for Roger Hodenius: his Citroën ended up on the verge! On the other hand, everything is running smoothly for Charles Munster (Skoda), whose progress at the wheel of a Rally2 can be called very impressive. He is fifth in the provisional standings, 4’00”5, 5”8 ahead of Cédric Cherain (Porsche), again very impressive now that his brake problems are over. The August Racing driver is clearly on his way to the national title in RGT.
At the wheel of a different generation BMW M3 E30 Gr.A, Thierry Neuville has dropped from fifth to seventh in the dark, but it doesn’t matter much. Important for the man from Sankt-Vith is the fun with a legendary car, the promotion of the new department of the company LifeLive, and the enthusiasm of the fans! Mission more than accomplished…
The provisional top 10 of the Spa Rally 2022 also consists of local driver Pierre Hubin (Citroën), very convincingly, ahead of Nicola Stampaert (Skoda) and Emile Breittmayer (Skoda).
Several titles have already been handed out on the first competition day. After the German Marijan Griebel (Peugeot 208 Rally4) on the podium this morning, Tom Rensonnet (Renault Clio Rally4) has collected enough scratches to secure the crowning glory in the Junior BRC. The young man from Verviers will start Sunday’s stages without any pressure, where he will have his sights set on the two leaders in the RC4 class, Marijan Griebel and Niels Reynvoet.
On Saturday evening the battle rages in the Historic BRC, as Nicolas Havet (BMW M3), on his fifth rally, has beaten Johnny Delhez (Ford Escort MK2). His lead: three miniscule tenths of a second! Thomas Delrez (Renault Clio RS) is both impressive and dominant in the 2WD Trophy, with a 16th place overall! The fight for the title is currently in favor of Bruno de Wilde (Peugeot 208 R2), who took full advantage of Stefaan T’Joens’ (Renault Clio) mistake in this morning’s very first stage.
At 9.12 am on Sunday morning KP11 Fays Show starts, the first of eight tests on Sunday. The spectacle promises to be of a very high level…