Many months after the Rally van Haspengouw, the Belgian Rally Championship 2020 finally reasserted itself in the region of Audenarde. Held similar to a sprint over 10 special stages in one single day, the Aarova Rally represented the perfect way of getting back into action, where DG Sport Compétition had entered a Citroen C3 R5 for Kris Princen and Bram Eelbode on the one hand, and another for Guillaume de Mévius and Martijn Wydaeghe on the other.
No doubt to celebrate the return of the special stages the clouds had opted to be generous over the Flemish Ardennes, just enough to transform the first part of the event into an on-going challenge, namely when it came to the choice of tyres. And it is worth admitting that this Aarova Rally did not kick off under the best auspices for the Theux based team …
“We immediately spotted that something was not running smoothly with the new car manned by Guillaume de Mévius, Alain Georges, the man in charge of DG Sport Compétition explained. We initially thought it might be the water pump, but the issue was of an electric or electronic origin. In these conditions impossible to trace the origin as from the moment the rally was about to start. Not wishing to cause any major damage to the engine we preferred to leave it at that, and have everything thoroughly checked back in the workshops …”
As such the exit of Mévius and Wydaeghe, with the hope of the stalwarts of DG Sport Compétition now resting on the shoulders of Kris Princen… who made an error in the first special stage! Having lost some fifteen odd seconds, the multiple Belgian Champion was obliged to embark in an improbable hunt to catch up lost time, given the conditions encountered.
“I was caught out in what was probably the slowest bend of the course, Kris Princen admitted. The conditions were such that driving the car was becoming highly complicated. Following that, I didn’t dare, and I knew I wasn’t taking all the risks …”
Nonetheless the C3 R5 DG Sport Compétition was back in the fight, and with one special stage from the finish, Princen and Eelbode had climbed back into 2nd place in the BRC ranking, some 7’’9 down from the leadership. “Kris then threw everything at it, and experienced a puncture, Alain Georges continued. That’s also part of rallying! No luck this time around, but we know that the potential is quite clearly there. The championship, as special as it might be this year, is not over as yet. We will square up the accounts after the Spa Rally, not before … »
The next rendezvous is already set to take place in a fortnight’s time with the South Belgian Rally, in the region of Vresse-sur-Semois. There is no doubt that the Citroën C3 R5 DG Sport Compétition will find a 100% natural course there, totally to their liking …