Cherain on top after day 1 in Bertrix


No doubt, the inaugural edition of the Rally of Bertrix got off to a strong start! From the first special, the dreaded section of Bois de Bertrix, Maxime Potty (Citroën) and Jos Verstappen (Skoda) disappeared from the classification, leaving Cédric Cherain (Hyundai) to investigate the scratches and return as a solid leader to the Place des 3 Fers!

Rally de Bertrix. 2023 Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Shot by Sam Tickell for

When the Rally of Bertrix officially started at 5:30 p.m., the fight promised to rage for the win. A few minutes later, the facts of the race followed one another! Maxime Potty finished SS1 in slow motion, victim of a loss of power. The verdict fell quickly: engine problem and retirement! For Jos Verstappen, it was unfortunately the elimination road exit, while local Laurent Mottet crashed the superb Peugeot 306 Maxi Sébastien Loeb Racing against a tree! Not the slightest boo for the crews, but an already well-stocked list of retirements…
Cédric Cherain (Hyundai) was probably not asking for so much, signing the scratch in the three specials of the day, to come in as a solid leader… “What great specials!, proclaimed the driver of the i20 N Rally2 BMA. The first is really reminiscent of the Barum Rally! We had fun… But you have to be very careful, because the road is already dirty, with a lot of gravel. I ride at 95% remaining vigilant and avoiding any errors. The heat doesn’t help, of course, but it’s ok! »
In the wake of Cherain, the Dutchman Roger ‘The Joker’ Hodenius (Skoda) surprised quite a few observers this Saturday. Pointing to 18”1 from Cherain, he is ahead of Charles Munster (Hyundai), who will do everything to allow BMA to sign an unstoppable double! “These sections are really great, but also complicated, commented the youngest son of Bernard Munster. In some places, we lose time, but I know why. Tomorrow, we will improve that! »
Behind this leading trio, it is Sébastien Incardona (Skoda) who tumbles into 4th position at 57”2, ahead of a John Wartique (Citroën, 1’02”4) who regretted having been rather cautious in the delicate opening special. Thibaud Mazuin (Skoda, 1’11”7) currently completes the top 6 ahead of an excellent Corentin Dozot (DS 3 R5, 1’23”1), Laurent Molle’s Alpine A110 RGT Rally (1′ 36”4), leader in R-GT, Tom Boonen (Skoda, 1’50”7), in love with the region, and Christophe Daco (Porsche 997 GT3, 1’53”6).
Note the puncture of Emile Breittmayer (Skoda) in SS3, which cost him more than 4 minutes and any chance of shining in the general classification.

The powerful BMWs of the Moood M-Cup manage to sow discord in the Rally2 and GT peloton on this course, Brecht Hoorne (E36) leading the debate – by clocking in 8th overall! – ahead of Philip Lommers (E36) and Franky Boulat (E36).
Lander Depotter was the fastest to fire in Clio Trophy Belgium, having taken his Renault Clio Rally5 to the top of the standings ahead of Pierre-Manuel Brasseur, Nard Ippens and Lyssia Baudet.
Finally, in Historic BRC, Guino Kenis (BMW 325i E30), one of the heroes of the last Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, currently dominates the Ford Escort Mk2 of Frédéric François and the BMW M3 E30 of Yann Munhowen and Rainer Hermann.
This Sunday, the podium at Place des 3 Fers in Bertrix will once again welcome the crews at 8:55 a.m., with a view to a second stage featuring two loops, i.e. six specials, and a finish scheduled shortly after 2:15 p.m….