A week and a half before the Aarova Oudenaarde Rally, organizer Club Superstage presents a list of participants that spans around 40 teams for the 9th round of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship. However, quality is not lacking in the race that is held in the beautiful Flemish Ardennes.
The field is led by Maxime Potty, the current leader in the Belgian championship. At the age of 23, Maxime is well on his way to a first Belgian title, especially after the mental blow he handed out to his competitor Cédric Cherain on the last stage of the Ypres Rally, whom he beat by barely 0″2. In Oudenaarde, Maxime Potty can start relaxed, because… he cannot improve his points total in the championship. After all, the Citroën driver already has two maximum scores in a Cup race and that is the maximum he can contribute to the final ranking.
John Wartique, fourth in the standings, can improve his score. Logical, because it is his first full campaign in the Belgian championship. Wartique is getting better and better in rhythm, which he proved with two podium places in the Wallonie and in Bertrix. Still, we expect more resistance for Potty from another Citroën driver, more specifically regional pilot Niels Reynvoet, 6th in the BRC standings. For Niels Reynvoet, the Aarova Oudenaarde Rally is a home race and in 2020, when the Aarova Rally counted for the first time for the Belgian championship, the Orfys driver was already third, while he was even second last year.
However, the favorites are in the Skoda camp, starting with two-time winner Vincent Verschueren. Both in 2016, with a boiling engine, and in 2018, the pilot from Zingem was the fastest in front of his own audience. Together with Jasper Vermeulen he takes another shot at victory. For that he has to pass Freddy Loix, the winner of last season, when the race had two stages for the first time on the territory of Frasnes-lez-Anvaing. Freddy Loix proved in Ypres that with the Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 he has the ideal weapon to compete for victory. That way he could give Pieter Tsjoen a third victory in his home rally. Pieter achieved one of those victories himself as a driver (2019) and the other (2017) was largely the work of Kevin Abbring.
And then we come to the outsiders, starting with Gilles Pyck, who wants to confirm his great performance from Ypres in East Flanders. With the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 he is already well armed. Fred Miclotte, recent winner of the TBR Rally, knows the course like the back of his hand. It was in the Aarova Rally that the co-pilot took his first steps as a rally driver. With the Volkswagen Polo GTi from SXM, he is certainly aiming for a close place of honor. Nicola Stampaert, with the Skoda Fabia run by PTR, is especially looking forward to the trials in Frasnes-lez-Anvaing, where he has built his new home. This time Nicola is navigated by Wim Coghe, one of his loyal sponsors. Jean-Baptiste Broekaert, another regional pilot, chooses a Ford Fiesta for his annual appearance this time.
In RGT we get a prestige battle between Amaury Molle’s Alpine A110 RGT and Tim Van Parijs’s Porsche 997 GT3, which is keen on a top performance in its home race. Tuur Vanden Abeele is also present with the ex-Lefevere Porsche 997 GT3. In the rear-wheel drive category, we also find three BMW M3s, including Rainer Hermann’s M3 E30, favorite in Historic, and that of Frenchman Benoit Boulanger, navigated by Christophe Doublet, Nicola Stampaert’s regular co-worker. Bror Lehoucq from Frasnes uses a more modern copy of the BMW M3.
In addition to the battle for victory in the 2WD Trophy, we are especially curious about the times of the fast youngsters in the Clio Trophy Belgium. Lander Depotter, man of the region, defends his leading position in the Clio Trophy, but Pierre-Manuel Brasseur, Xavier Dekeyser, Jeroen Catelin, Nard Ippen, Aaron Duville and Lyssia Baudet will provide the necessary resistance. With 11 Clios, the Clio Trophy accounts for a large part of the spectacle of this Aarova Oudenaarde Rally.
As said, the registrations will remain open for another week, so the registration list is not final yet. Appointment on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 August for the Aarova Oudenaarde Rally.