The 48th TAC Rally in and around Tielt formed the backdrop for the fourth round of the Kroon-oil Belgian Rally Championship on Easter Saturday. With 18 Rally2s at the start, the top class in the championship, the race was very busy. As expected, it was an exciting battle for victory until the last meters. After leading most of the race, Maxime Potty won by 5″2 ahead of Cédric Cherain, the moral winner who only lost the victory by a penalty of 10″.
“In the first lap I had an advantage, because I opened the course. We have found our own rhythm. One time I made a small mistake, but otherwise it went fine. I knew it would be exciting until the last stage, because Cédric Cherain never gives up and I kept attacking. This victory is good, but the championship is certainly not decided yet,” said Maxime Potty, as always calm.
Cédric Cherain protested after the race for the 10″ time penalty he received for a false start on the opening stage. However, the penalty was upheld, allowing the Hyundai driver to finish second for the third time this year. “I don’t understand the sanction. For a mistake of maybe a tenth of a second, we get 10″ time penalty. That is exaggerated. Then I should have started 6 seconds earlier, because then I would have received the same penalty time,” said Cherain. “For me, a rally has to be decided on the stages. We take a lot of risks and then lose because of such a decision is sour… I made a small mistake once, where we slid onto a slope. It took maybe 4 or 5 seconds…”
After the decision of the sports committee, the team appealed against this decision, so that the result of the TAC Rally is subject to the decision of the appeal.
There was no discussion at all about Bastien Rouard’s third place. After his second place in the Rallye des Ardennes, Rouard confirmed his great performance in Tielt, where he discovered the stages. “Honestly, this exceeds my expectations. I had signed for a top 5. The tests here are so hard. The asphalt is extremely slippery in places. The grip is hard to read,” said Bastien Rouard.
Adrian Fernémont, sick at the start, had a hard time finding confidence. The PTR Racing Skoda driver finished fourth ahead of Roger Hodenius, who presented the new Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 to the Belgian rally fans. The Dutchman won the classification at the Masters, ahead of Fred Miclotte and Bert Coene.
In the GT category there was no stopping Gunther Monnens, who sent the Porsche 991 GT3 to a fantastic 6th place. This made him much faster than Glenn Janssens, who was put off course in the final lap after a speed violation. Second place in GT went to Amaury Molle’s Alpine A110, which will defend the colors of the MRF tire brand this season.
Fred Miclotte finished 8th overall with his Skode Fabia Rally2, ahead of Nicola Stampaert, who clocked great times in the Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, and Junior Planckaert, who struggled on the treacherous stages of the TAC Rally.
Vincent Verschueren (turbo hose loose on KP 1), Niels Reynvoet (drive shaft loose on KP 1) and Cédric De Cecco (transmission broken on KP 7) were forced to give up early on.
In the M Cup, victory went to Mats Van den Brand, ahead of Philip Lommers and Franky Boulat. Benoit Verlinde was the best in the Junior BRC with the official Renault Clio Rally4. Despite an early sortie, Jonas Dewilde was still able to take the points from second place. In Historic, Pieter-Jan Maeyaert won the exciting duel against Paul Lietaer, who fell without brakes on the last test. And in the 2WD Trophy Christiaan Spelmans was, just like last week, the fastest after Joni Van de Walle retired.