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Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020- Meeke, Breen and Hirvonen all out to get the better of the Belgians!

Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020- Meeke, Breen and Hirvonen all out to get the better of the Belgians!

20.01.2020: A billboard like no other! Once again, on the 31st January, 1st and 2nd February the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne will be stretching the limits, proving to those last few doubters that an exceptional event,


A billboard like no other! Once again, on the 31st January, 1st and 2nd February the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne will be stretching the limits, proving to those last few doubters that an exceptional event, reserved for classic vehicles, is the ideal formula to bring together some top competitors to the start, and allow the general public to enjoy a quite simply unforgettable weekend …




“I can assure you that we fought as never before to reach such a great result, Pierre Delettre, the organiser commented. Ranging from the choice of date through to the last partners to materialise one or other of our projects, and we still haven’t finished! Obviously, there will always be one or other individual that will regret the absence of Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, for example. But we also need to take into account the contractual commitments of those WRC stars.



During the weekend Thierry and Nico will call in to say hello and no doubt we will have the opportunity to see them back in action at a following edition … Having said that we can and should be proud of our 2020 billboard, quite superb. It’s quite simple, no other European sporting event on the historic scene can do it as well … “



These legendary drivers will once again be rushing to be at the gates of Bastogne. And to top the international billboard of this edition is threefold, with first and foremost the Irishman Kris Meeke and his co-driver Seb Marshall, who have every intention of succeeding to Thierry Neuville, Bryan Bouffier and Mikko Hirvonen in the annals of these Legend Boucles. Meeke is on a high, and at the wheel of the Ford Escort MK2 Rallying Solutions of Christophe Jacob, he has every intention of having fun but especially not dawdling along the route!



Winners of the 2019 edition of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarno Ottman have shown their intention to defend this success. As such the Finns are back, with this time around a Ford Escort MK2 emanating from the DB-R structure of Laurent Berthet and Arnaud Degen. Aim of this approach: prove the professionalism of this new team. Meeke will need to behave himself!


And what, if at the end of the day, Kris Meeke and Mikko Hirvonen underwent the law of another star emanating from the WRC? By way of a superb cherry on the cake, the Royal Automobile Club de Spa is delighted to welcome another Irishman, Craig Breen, and his co-driver Paul Nagle, who for the occasion will inherit a spectacular BMW M3 Group A straight out of the workshops of van den Brand in The Netherlands!



Even though the coefficient of the Bavarian machine is less favourable than that of the Escort MK2 models, the car is more recent and therefore also more efficient.



What with Kris Meeke, Mikko Hirvonen and Craig Breen at the start of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020, we must admit that the fans will be more than spoilt!



The young lions of the BRC to defend the Belgian colours!


Should we conclude that this year the Belgians will need to merely be picking up the crumbs? Definitely not!



The international competition will in fact need to be wary of a handful of young lions performing well in the Belgian Rally Championship. Starting off with the 2019 Champion, Adrian Fernémont, co-driven by Samuel Maillen and at the wheel of the Ford Escort MK2 of Christophe Devleeschauwer. Already present on the podium last year, the duo has set their mind on claiming one or other overall place …



When it comes to the Ford Escort MK2, there is also Cédric Cherain, who for the occasion has rented Christian Delleuse’s machine, and whose co-driver Damien Withers is rather inexperienced, but which in no way will restrain the ardour of the Verviers based driver.



Silver medallist in the recent Rallye du Condroz, Guillaume de Mévius will also be on hand and joined by Martijn Wydaeghe, and has the intention of making excellent use of the family Porsche 911.



As for Sébastien Bedoret, even though he just missed out on the national title in 2019 by a hairsbreadth, he will be present at the start of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne for the first time, and has every intention of having fun.



Works Skoda driver, he will for the occasion, and always with Thomas Walbrecq at his side, be at the wheel of a Skoda 130 Group B, a small machine that has recorded some great pages in the history of the Boucles de Spa, the oldest in this current event.




Caprasse, Berlandy and ‘Vande’ as major outsiders




The Legend Boucles is first and foremost a question of experience. And on this course, Fred Caprasse, a native of Tenneville, has no lack of it! Every year, in the company of Geoffrey Razzi, this archetypal circuit driver never ceases to amaze. Third in 2018, 2nd in 2019, try to guess what Caprasse secretly hopes from this 2020 edition with another Escort MK2 Rallying Solutions…


Considered to be the absolute expert in the historic category in Germany, Georg Berlandy was impressive in 2019 during his debut at Bastogne. And even though he stranded just at the foot of the overall podium, this driver with his fearsome Opel Kadett GT/E Gr.4 thoroughly enjoyed himself, admitting that he had been impressed with the event. Outcome: he is back with Peter Schaaf at his side. And it’s going to rock!



As for Jean-Pierre Van de Wauwer, winner of the Legend Boucles de Spa 2012 in the company of Eric Marnette, he knows the recipe to perform brilliantly in Bastogne. His original Lancia Beta Monte-Carlo Gr.4 has for hundreds of on-going hours been pampered with a view to the event. For the occasion co-driven by Greg Surinx, ‘Vande’ intends to hit hard and well as from the Saturday … the day of his 66th birthday!


The chasing pack will undoubtedly take in such individuals as Fred Bouvy, who for the occasion will be christening a ‘new’ Porsche 911 SC Group 4 from the Hansen Vintage Porsche team, a machine fully in tune with the 2020 sporting regulations.



Gérard Marcy (Porsche 911 BMA), who produced a superb result on the snow in Romania, Yves Matton (Porsche 911 SC 3.0 Gr.3), the FIA’s ‘Mister Rally’, Romain Delhez (Opel Kadett GT/E Gr.4), former winner of Spa in 2011 Stefaan Stouf (Ford Escort MK1), not forgetting local driver Romuald Thirion (Opel Ascona A), and so many competitors who experienced success at Bastogne, which implies that they perfectly know the score …



Also keep an eye on several serious outsiders, who might rear their heads at any moment. First and foremost there is Harold de Hemptinne (Ford Escort MK2), undeniable revelation of the 2019 edition, who once again will make the most of his natural talents during Sunday’s forest run. In his wake, we should come across drivers such as Johnny Delhez (Ford Escort MK2), Tom Van Rompuy (BMW M3 Gr.A), Christophe Daco (Ford Escort MK2), Geoffrey Leyon (Ford Escort MK1), John Wartique (Porsche 911 LLM-Mecasport), Gino Bux (Ford Escort MK1), André Lausberg (Porsche 911 BMA), not forgetting Patrick Malherbe (Ford Escort MK2).



Renaud Verreydt last minute entry!



More goods news appeared just as the entry closure period was on the horizon. And one of these involves a former winner of the Boucles de Spa. Renaud Verreydt will be at the wheel of his superb Ford Escort MK1, with Jean-François Elst in the right-hand bucket seat.



A duo that left their mark in the annals of the Boucles which has now become Legend Boucles, and which should thrill the fans! Good news never comes on its own, Verreydt will dispose of an Escort having undergone an enormous performance progress! Everyone is delighted …



Legendary Opel Manta and Ascona 400 machines!


The out-and-out fans of Opel will be more than delighted at these Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020! On top of that they will be reminded of a great story, with the first meeting since … 1985 of two Opel Manta 400 Group B cars which that year had competed in the Kenyan Safari Rally!


Patrick Henry de Frahan and Emile De Dryver will be in the former Aaltonen machine, while Jean-André Collard and Thibault de Raikem will try to tame the former Weber car!



More than ever the Ascona 400 machines are also popular, with the announced comeback of the Frenchman Frédéric Rosati and his beautiful car in the Rothmans livery, while Stefaan Prinzie and Dirk Van Rompuy will make the most of identical machines.



Apart from Meeke, Hirvonen, Breen and Berlandy, the international delegation will cut a fine figure, with an impressive German offensive in the wake of the German driver in his Kadett GT/E.



One will therefore need to keep a close eye on such drivers as Axel Schuett (Ford Escort MK2), Henning Schuett (Ford Escort MK2), Stefan Uhl (Ford Escort MK2), Timo Rumpfkeil (Mercedes 190 2.3 16V), Peter Schumann (Ford Escort MK2), not forgetting the fiendish Toyota Starlet of Thomas Kleinwächter! Frenchmen Roland Medici (Porsche 911 SC 3.0 Gr.4), Olivier Breittmayer (Ford Escort MK1), Maxime Vilmot (Ford Escort MK2) and Frédéric Vincent (Audi Quattro, with a certain Jean Caro in the right-hand bucket seat!) will attempt to clock up good scores, as will the Dutchman Armand Adriaans (Datsun 240 Z).



No doubt the general public will only have eyes for the Italian Gabriele Noberasco (BMW M3 Gr.A), whose reputation as a showman has for many years crossed the borders, whereas the British driver Syddall will be back with us with his superb and top performing Fiat 131 Abarth Gr.4 !



There will also be question of some great machinery thanks to Alexandre Leroy, who will be enlivening the event with a delightful Mazda RX-7 Group B, presently developed and harnessed in Belgium.



Maxime Martin, ‘Krugger’, Prévot and the Glaude family out in force!     
   


Among the traditions of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, we note the regular presence of personalities fully determined to have a good time. Official Aston Martin Racing driver on the endurance scene, Maxime Martin in no way wants to miss out on his annual leisure time in the company of his friend Kenny Dewolf, still with the Opel Kadett GT/E.



As for Fred Bertrand, known by one and all as ‘Krugger’, he will be back behind the wheel of his devilish first-generation VW Golf GTI after having been widely talked about at the Brussels Motor Show with his most recent creation, this time on four wheels …



Having occupied the automotive literary scene at the end of the year with the release of the book devoted to his long career as a co-driver, Stéphane Prévot will also be on hand, accompanied by Guy Lauwers in the cockpit of a Porsche 911 Carrera RS!



On the spectacle front, we can expect the best from the Glaude family, more than ever ready to defend the honour of close by Bertogne! Christian and Anne (Volvo 144) will be going head to head with Sébastien (Volvo 144) and Guillaume (Volvo 142)!



There will also be a Swedish machine to be seen in the hands of Bernard Lamy, this time in 242 version.



You still want more?



If per chance you feel that this billboard needs an extra touch of flavour, you could eventually add a few ingredients: Philippe Moortgat (Porsche 911), Olivier Cartelle (Opel Corsa Gr.A), Florian Jupsin (Opel Ascona A), Pierre Merche (Ford Escort MK2), Laurent Richard (BMW 2002 Tii), Patrick Van Heurck (Ford Escort MK2), Eric Cunin (VW Golf GTI), Grégoire Destexhe (BMW 325i E30), Frédéric François (Ford Escort MK2), Jean-Pierre Lequeux (Porsche 911), Eric Duthoit (Ford Escort MK1), Francis Listrez (Skoda Favorit), and loads more, also well-known on the national motorsport scene …
In a nutshell, some great sport is awaited throughout the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020! Enjoy…
 


 

-Vincent Franssen, photos Letihon


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/legend-boucles-bastogne-meeke-breen-hirvonen-better-belgians---202837.html

20.01.2020 / MaP

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