Which in no way prevented Cédric Cherain and Adrian Fernémont, leaders on Saturday evening, from continuing their duel through to the finish, the two Skoda Fabia R5 machines sharing the scratches, prior to setting off for the final loop shod with identical tyres. Without an error from either one, the time differences would be minimal. Notwithstanding the two scratches produced by Fernémont in the last three special stages, Cédric Cherain, teamed up with Pierre Sibille, managed to retain his advantage, finishing 13’’0 up and claiming victory for the SXM Competition formation…
“This is undoubtedly one of my greatest victories, Cédric Cherain commented. After my 2nd place at Landen, this success on top of that represents an excellent deal in the Belgian Championship. This weekend we experienced a truly great rally, with varied conditions, but definitely extreme. Well done to Adrian for battling on through to the finish, my thanks to all who made this possible!”
From his side Adrian Fernémont tried everything, in vain … “My first objective was to remain in close contact with Cédric, ready to take advantage of the slightest mistake he might make, the Skoda Racing Technology driver admitted. But it never came. Nevertheless, this first honourable result comes just at the right time following my rather complicated start of the season at the Haspengouw.”
The top 5 overall was completed by Joachim Wagemans (Peugeot 208 T16 R5), who took advantage of the retirement of various favourites and outsiders, namely Kris Princen (VW Polo R5, suspension), Cédric De Cecco (Skoda Fabia R5, universal joint), Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco (Ford Fiesta R5, engine), and Armand Fumal (DS 3 R5, clutch). Among the unlucky ones we must also mention Stephan Hermann (Fiat Punto S1600), once again at an impressive ease prior to experiencing electrical issues as from Saturday.
Throughout the entire weekend there were some splendid duels in the RC4 category, namely the R2. This between the Opel Adam R2 of Timo van der Marel, who will competing in the entire BRC, and Grégoire Munster, right down to a mere few seconds, despite the different tyres shod on their machines. Even though the young Dutchman thought he was on the way to winning the race, Bernard Munster’s son hit hard in the last two special stages, getting the better of van der Marel by a mere 2’’1! An incredible outcome, and final proof of Grégoire Munster’s top speed, who will be tackling his European campaign in the Azores next week defending the colours of Opel Motorsport. The latter also won the Junior BRC rankings ahead of the Peugeot 208 R2 of Amaury Molle and Tobias Brüls.
In these conditions, the best Porsche 911 GT3 climbed up into 6th place, the returner and always green Pascal Gaban getting the better of Fred Bouvy by some forty odd seconds. John Wartique, who experienced an agitated event, completed the podium in R-GT, notably taking advantage of the early retirement of Francis Lejeune, whose car refused any service at the exit of the Parc Fermé this Sunday morning! Back in the race after his early retirement the day before, Romain Delhez got to grips with his new mount, promptly clocking up excellent times, before throwing in the towel as the result of a damaged exhaust.
If on the one hand Johnny Delhez (Ford Escort MK2) was calling the shots in Historic BRC on Saturday evening, this Sunday he saw it malt away from the powerful and most recent Ford Sierra Cosworth of Dirk Deveux, following its first appearance in competition. Taking advantage of his four-wheel drive, the Dutch speaking driver managed to outflank and get the better of the Liège based rival, Delhez making it a point of honour of claiming 2nd place up against the other Escort MK2 models of Jean-Michel Gerome and Arthur Kerkhove. Impossible not to mention the excellent race start of Gino Bux (Ford Escort MK1) and Guino Kenis (BMW M3), who dominated prior to having to throw in the towel.
Notwithstanding the exceptionally varied weather conditions, not a single minute’s delay was experienced throughout the weekend in the Herock Spa Rally 2019, and its more than ever well laid out course delighted the participants. “The opinions are unanimous, an overjoyed Christian Jupsin, the man in charge of DG Sport, commented at the finish podium. We had promised a 2019 edition erasing the flaws of the previous one, and we kept to our word! Thanks to all the staff, the partners and the town of Spa! “