Big field and big fights await in Sezoensrally


Real rally drivers love unpaved roads. With their driving skills, car control and, above all, courage, they can make a difference on unpaved roads. The Belgian rally drivers have clearly overcome their fear of the Maaskiezel in recent years, because the 47th Season Rally can once again count on a particularly strong starting field. Almost the entire Belgian top will arrive at the start of the third round of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship Division 1 in Bocholt.

Rallye de Wallonie. Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Shot by Sam Tickell for (c)

With 90 registrations, including 19 Rally2s, the starting field is particularly strong. It promises to be very exciting again in terms of sport on the fast strips of Maas gravel. This year the course has three loops of 4 special stages: Goolder (14.30 km), Brueghel (9.13 km), Gerdingen (9.90 km) and Veldhoven (13.13 km), the power stage. Together the stages amount to 139 km against the clock.

Verstappen is hungry for victory

The same top performers are expected at the front as last year, when Maxime Potty won convincingly in Bocholt ahead of Jos Verstappen and Niels Reynvoet. This time all three are aiming for victory again. This time Niels Reynvoet is the leader in the championship with his Citroën C3 Rally2, ahead of brand mate and title holder Maxime Potty. Jos Verstappen showed this season that he has made enormous strides. The Dutch ex-F1 pilot will certainly have a shot at winning with his Skoda Fabia RS.
That is certainly also the ambition of Cédric Cherain, the leader of the BMA Hyundai brigade, with Bastien Rouard and Charles Munster, who is participating in the BRC for the first time this season. Vincent Verschueren is also aiming for the podium with his C3 Rally2, just like Cédric De Cecco, who already has more rhythm than in the Rally of Wallonia. John Wartique, the only one with a VW Polo in the field, has his sights set on a close place of honor.

With 6 Citroën C3s versus 6 Skoda Fabias, those brands are most strongly represented. At Citroën we also note two-time Master champion Jimmy D’hondt and Sébastien Incardona. Tom Boonen continues his learning process this year with a Fabia RS from PTR Racing, while Nicola Stampaert remains loyal to the Fabia Rally2 Evo. Thibaud Mazuin and Richard Pex will also be at the start with a Fabia RS.

Kurt Boone, back with his trusted and experienced colleague Kenny Deroo at the start, wants to stop the series of bad luck and finish with his Ford Fiesta R5. The Dutchman Michiel Becx will be a good reference, because he also starts with a Ford. His compatriot Martin van Iersel enjoys the Maaskiezel every year in his Hyundai i20 N Rally2. Steve Bécaert wants to join the Rally2 crowd with the Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX. We are curious how close Xavier Dekeyser can get to the other 4x4s with his new Renault Clio Rally3.

44ste Sezoensrally. 2021 Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Shot by Sam Tickell for

Monnens versus Snijers
In addition to the 4×4 turbo top cars, the brutal horsepower of the Porsche GT3s follows. Originally, these GTs with their wide track were not built for better rally work on unpaved surfaces, but what a great spectacle they offer, partly due to their beautiful engine sound. Gunther Monnens, the pre-eminent specialist in the Maas gravel, is the logical favorite. This time he has an experienced top competitor in Patrick Snijers. A top poster! There are of course also the 991 GT3 of Henri Schmelcher and the 997’s GT3 of Tuur Vanden Abeele and regional driver Kevin Theuwissen. The question remains whether Melissa Debackere will get her Porsche ready in time…

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All brand cups in the lot

This 47th edition of the Sezoensrally offers excitement and quality at all levels, because the three brand cups that are active in our country are all coming to North Limburg. After all, the Maaskiezel remains the ideal surface for young people to demonstrate their talent at the wheel. In the Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup, Pierre-Manuel Brasseur surprisingly starts as the leader after his victory in Namur. He made a great debut, beating vice-champion Tom Heindrichs and Junior champion Jonas Dewilde. Maxim Decock and Lander Depotter are also aiming for a podium.

We are also ready for the second race in the Clio Trophy. The opening heat was surprisingly won by the Romanian Cristian Sugar, who will discover the Maas gravel, ahead of Nard Ippen, who made his debut with the Clio in Bocholt last year. For Jo Muylle, Bocholt has become a second home. He wants to score well, just like Lyssia Baudet, who needs a good result to keep her title chances intact. But be sure to pay attention to Leny Cols, Larry’s son, who made a great debut at the age of 19, and Thijs Meirlevede, who has already impressed a few times in the Westhoek with a pioneer. We can of course expect a lot of drifting spectacle from the MATS Performance M-Cup, but certainly also fast times. With Philip Lommers, the defending champion from Lommel, and Jesse Monnens, Gunther’s son, there are already two fast local top players who will compete against the West Flemish top players Kurt Braeckevelt and Patrick Lievens. Or can Patrick Diels also show his speed from Haspengouw on the maasked donkey? And what can Johnny Louies get out of his BMW for his own audience? With a dozen fast BMW M3s the spectacle is assured.

44ste Sezoensrally. 2021 Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Shot by Sam Tickell for

For fans and visitors, we definitely recommend a visit to the De Damburg service area (free and accessible on foot). There you can watch the mechanics at work all day long, have a chat with the drivers and above all enjoy the Bocholt atmosphere with various food trucks and entertainment.