Weekend rally news from overseas – November 7
- 6th November 2016, 9:50pm
Citroen team drivers Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre were first and second on Belgium’s Condroz Rally, the top Belgian driver being third placed Vincent Verschueren (Skoda Fabia R5).
The Huy based event was noted for a series of crashes, including the leader Cedric Cherain (Fabia R5), Emil Bergkvist (Citroen DS3 R5), Cedric De Cecco (Peugeot 208 T16), Xavier Baugnet (Ford Fiesta R5) and Benoît Allart (Skoda Fabia WRC).
Citroen competition chief, Yves Matton, competed at Condroz, driving a seven year old ex-Sebastien Loeb and Jean-Marie Cuoq C4 WRC into fifth place.
The two Hyundai i20 R5 cars (driven by Francois Duval and Guillaume Dilley) both retired because of a broken sump.
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Tough days for the once popular ERC Rally Estonia which will not be run in 2017 after declining an offer to stay in the championship.
This year the entry was poor with no major names, spectator levels were down and there was a major financial loss.
Popularity among teams was at a low ebb, not helped by a route which constantly moved from one town to another.
The up-and-coming rally in Estonia nowadays is Saaremaa Rally, which is the last round of Estonian Championship.
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An interview published in a Belgian newspaper quoted a leading French driver as saying that the World Champion, Sebastien Ogier, lacked the same popularity that his predecessor Sebastien Loeb had enjoyed, and even suggested the current World Rally Champion had developed a reputation of “un prétentieux pleurnichard", an arrogant crybaby …
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Former Finnish and British Rally Champion, Tapio Laukkanen, has now become unbeatable this year in Kenya and is the new champion in that country as well!
Laukkanen began the weekend needing second place to take the title, regardless of where his rival, and reigning champion, Jassi Chatthe, finished.
Tapio had a double puncture and dropped four minutes, letting Chatthe into the lead, but then he also punctured, lost time changing wheels and dropped from first to third.
Rajbir Rai and Manvir Biryan were first and second in Ford Fiesta R5s, the first ever win on African soil for an R5. Fourth overall at the finish was enough for Tapio to clinch the title.
The final round of the KNRC is in three weeks’ time.
- Martin Holmes
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