BRC: Huge fight at the top for Rallye de Wallonia


The title battle in the Belgian rally championship, the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship, continues in full force this weekend in the Rally of Wallonia. After two Division 2 rounds, the classic around Namur is the second match of the Division 1 championship. All the top players will be at the start and it promises to be a tough battle on the 20 fast special stages.

Rally van Haspengouw, 2024 Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Shot by Sam Tickell for

The Rally of Wallonia is the first two-day race of the season. The competition starts on Saturday April 27 at 8am. The opening day has 11 stages, three times Mohiville-Nettinne (14.914 km), Natoye (8.83 km) and Crypte (5.79 km) and twice Wartet (6.98 km), together accounting for 105.59 km against the chrono. On Sunday April 28, another 9 special stages will follow from 7am, divided into three rounds of three stages (89.87 km), Naninne (8.86 km), Fernelmont-Eghezée (12.96 km) and Vedrin (8.12 km). ). The last test in Vedrin, held at 3:08 PM, is also the Powerstage where extra points can be earned for the five fastest riders (5-4-3-2-1 point).

A total of 73 teams registered for the D1 competition, a third of which with top cars in the RC2 and RGT categories. So there is no shortage of quality. The field is led by the three winners of the three first races of the season, with Niels Reynvoet, the current leader in the BRC after winning the TAC Rally, Cédric Cherain, winner in Haspengouw with his Hyundai, and Jos Verstappen, laureate on the fast stages of the Rallye des Ardennes. Defending champion Maxime Potty, narrowly defeated twice this season, wants to add to his list of achievements in Jambes.

In addition to the four absolute top favorites, we also count a handful of outsiders with a chance of winning. Starting with two-time champion Adrian Fernémont, who is always one of the contenders in his own region in his Citroën C3 Rally2, and Cédric De Cecco, who started the final day as leader in his Citroën last year, until the engine failed him. They are keen on a good result, just like Bastien Rouard, who felt an almost certain victory slip through his fingers in Dinant due to punctures. Vincent Verschueren, who always enjoys the high speeds at the stages around Namur, proved in Tielt that he has once again connected with the absolute top.

The flowing, natural stages of the Wallonia Rally no longer hold any secrets for John Wartique. Last year he was already on the podium in Jambes. In dry weather the VW driver will have to be taken into account. Fred Miclotte, a pleasant surprise in Haspengouw, is feeling less happy for the time being on the very fast tests. He will adopt a wait-and-see strategy, just like Kurt Boone, who has already left the track twice with his Ford Fiesta R5. Boone is looking for confidence on his debut in Namur, just like Roger Hodenius, who left the track in Wales last week, and the other Boonen, Tom Boonen, who was looking for more consistency in his times in Haspengouw.

With his Citroën C3 Rally 2 we can also expect Emile Breittmayer close to the Top 5, just like home driver Thibaud Mazuin, who can count on the excellent notes and tips from Sam Maillen. Jimmy D’hondt, Sébastien Incardona, Emmanuel Gonay (all Citroën) and the Skoda drivers Etienne Monfort and Florent Hontoir complete the list of Rally2s.

Just to say that it will be tough for a place in the Top 10, because there are still 7 very fast Porsches at the start. The GTs can make good use of their horsepower in dry weather on the fast stages of the Rally of Wallonia. For top times we can count on Kris Princen, who feels good in the Porsche 991 GT3. Princen wants to make it quite difficult for some Rally2s. In the GT category he will be opposed by the 991 GT3s of Romain Delhez, Glenn Janssens, Henri Schmelcher and Valentin Brahy, while Olivier Collard and Laurent Léonard will compete in a 997 GT3.

In addition to the battle for overall victory, there is much more to experience in this 41st Rally of Wallonia, such as the battle in the Stellantis Motorsport Cup, the Clio Trophy, the Junior BRC, the Historic BRC and the demo of the Rally4Passion.

In short, there will be a hard fight for points in the Kroon-Oil BRC Division 1 in this Rally of Wallonia, where the spectacle starts on Friday afternoon with the shakedown.