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After the surprising news about Kris Princen’s retirement for this season the winner of the Belgian Rally Championship will most probably be decided at this year’s East Belgian Rally.

The Belgian who is currently leading the 2017 championship was not able to raise the budget for the second last run of the BRC around St. Vith which will eventually cost him the lead and the championship title. But not too early: On Friday, 22th September 2017, Kris Princen officially enrolled at the rally!

Flashback to the beginning of the year: 2016 was a brilliant year for the great gentleman Freddy Loix to celebrate his last season driving in a rally car and winning the Belgian Rally Championship. He dominated the whole season and showed his incredible skill once again. After his retirement a big gap opened for many new drivers to fill and nobody was quite sure who would be able to fill it. More surprising that Škoda chose youngster Achiel Boxoen over routineer Guillaume de Ridder for the vacant seat in their Fabia R5. Ridder stated in a Facebook post that he was disappointed about this career-changing decision. Škoda officially justified choosing their new driver taking several vital characteristics into account: Boxoen had the better profile in any way: he got talent and time to learn, his open communication and most important his plan for his future career including realistic goals.

Nevertheless, there is Kris Princen who was always close behind Loix but never being able to surpass him – the dreams he had at the beginning of the 2017 season all seemed to be crushed after a disastrous roll at the Omloop van Vlaanderen which destroyed the body of his Škoda Fabia R5. Now the major question is: Who will it be? Who will be the next Freddy Loix? Who will manage to climb the podium this year?


Kris Princen at TAC Rally 2017, Credit: Gregory Timmerman

Now at the East Belgian Rally everything comes together. Follow-up Vincent Verschueren is the driver with the biggest possibility to use this unique chance. One driver not to forget is Kevin Abbring. The ambitious Dutchman has WRC experience and must not be underestimated in his Peugeot 208 T16. Boxoen is still in the learning phase and does not play a role in the fight for the title. Besides these drivers Cédric Cherain is always a candidate for a surprise. With his 9 SS wins throughout the season he might push the leading drivers a bit unless he pushes too much himself and crashes. But his season is over since he was excluded from Herock Spa Rally after Verschueren protested against him with the explanation that he used tyres that were not allowed.

The entrylist looks promising with 14 R5 cars including Princen, the duellists Abbring and Verschueren, newcomer Boxoen, Cherain, Ghislain de Mevius, Kevin Demaerschalk, Guillaume Dilley, Adrian Fernémont, Hans Weijs jr. and Alain Litt. Besides them there are two drivers fighting against each other in the WRC category: Both Michael Albert and Manuel Canal-Robles are driving a Škoda Fabia WRC. We can also expect 5 Porsche 997 GT3 and a Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 to start next weekend which will do their best to show off their incredible RWD monsters. As a special the spectator can enjoy almost 40 cars in the BRC Criterium – historic rally cars that do not drive for points but to entertain the crowds.

The East Belgian Rally starts at 9 AM and consists of 13 tarmac stages in the regions around Büllingen, Amel, Bütgenbach, St. Vith and Burg-Reuland. We are overly excited to see who will come out as the new winner of this run and the whole championship.

 

 

Standings

Haspengouw Spa TAC Rallye Wallonie Sezoens Ypres Vlaanderen East Belgian Condroz TOTAL
1. Princen Kris 20
(1.)
R 16
(2.)
20
(1.)
12
(4.)
R 68
2. Verschueren Vincent 16
(2.)
16
(2.)
20
(1.)
12
(3.)
R (2.)
(1.)
64
3. Abbring Kevin 12
(3.)
R R 20
(1.)
20
(1.)
(2.) 52
4. de Mevius Guillaume 10
(11.)
R R 10
(16.)
15
(5.)
10
(14.)
45
5. Rouard Bastien 10
(10.)
14
(5.)
8
(29.)
10
(15.)
42
6. Geusens Polle R 11
(4.)
2
(8.)
16
(2.)
10
(5.)
R 39
7. Allart Benoît R 20
(1.)
6
(7.)
(48.) 12
(4.)
38
8. Boulat Franky 12
(7.)
10
(12.)
7
(9.)
(8.) 29
9. Van Parijs Timothy 16
(3.)
11
(9.)
27
10. Vauterin Pierre 5
(19.)
5
(13.)
8
(24.)
8
(22.)
R (14.) 26

 

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