Strong end to the season for Grégoire and Charles Munster

Strong end to the season for Grégoire and Charles Munster

05.12.2022: On Sunday Grégoire Munster and Louis Louka (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) finished second in the Spa Rally, the final round of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Munster was more or less the only driver able to keep pace with Stéphane Lefebvre, the eventua

On Sunday Grégoire Munster and Louis Louka (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) finished second in the Spa Rally, the final round of the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship. Munster was more or less the only driver able to keep pace with Stéphane Lefebvre, the eventual winner. After his first recent victory in WRC2 in Japan Munster ended off his season in style with a podium place in the Spa Rally.  

In their second rally with an R5 Charles Munster and Loris Pascaud (Skoda Fabia R5) finished in an honorable fifth place. The youngest of the Munster brothers drove a faultless rally whereby he systematically increased the pace without making the slightest mistake in the process.

The appearance of the first snow on Friday did not deter the Hyundai duo. It was business as usual during the shakedown. With a good feeling and fully focussed the duo set off on Saturday. Following the first loop of four special stages, it soon became clear that Munster remained the only challenger to the leader Stéphane Lefebvre.

In the second loop, Grégoire Munster won two special stages, but also made a small mistake whereby at the end of the day there was a 25.5 seconds gap.  On Sunday morning the Hyundai driver won two special stages, finishing second in the third stage 0.1 sec down and then making another small mistake.

Notwithstanding being just under half a minute down Grégoire Munster continued to put on the pressure, winning the two last special stages of the season and ending in a strong second place behind the former WRC works driver and Spa Rally winner, Stéphane Lefebvre.

“Together with Louis we set off on the last assignment of the year with enthusiasm”, Grégoire Munster commented “If you want to beat Stéphane Lefebvre, apart from daring to go flat out, now and then you need to dare to opt for a different choice of tyres. And that is what we did. At Stavelot he was on slicks and we with one rain tyre, only to set off at the start of the following special stage with three rain tyres. In hindsight that was not the right choice as we had lost too much time at Stavelot.

After eight special stages, the difference was 14.6 sec. If one analyses the time loss over those 8 runs, during the two runs in Stavelot we lost 7.9 sec and in all the other stages a mere 6.7 sec. With that small gap, everything was in fact still possible. On the first run in total darkness, we decided to try something. In a certain braking zone we braked somewhat late, our wheels locked resulting in a skid whereby we lost 14 sec. On the following night run, we went into the attack and we were able to make up some time again.”

Trailing by 25.5 seconds Grégoire Munster and Louis Louka started the second day of the Spa Rally. “On Sunday morning we decided to immediately put on the pressure, with success. We reduced the gap to 20.4 sec. Over three stages we had made up 5 sec. It was high time to try out something new in Theux, the most treacherous stage of the rally.  

It was just then that we made our second mistake and according to the onboard footage we lost 14 sec. The battle for overall victory was over, but that did not deter us from finishing in style and winning the power stage. The general conclusion is that we drove a good, intelligent rally.

 A former works driver was just that bit faster, that’s true. But on the other hand, we did win seven special stages and we retain a good feeling from this race. The only thing we still need to master is finding the real limit without exceeding it.”

Charles Munster was behind the wheel of the Skoda Fabia R5 for the second time in the Spa Rally. In particularly difficult conditions he started the rally with a modest eleventh time. On the second and third runs in Spa he was fourth fastest each time. Here we especially recall his flawless performance in complete darkness.

Charles Munster ended the day in fifth place. On Sunday he continued his learning process with, among others, two fourth times and as an absolute highlight, his third time in the final power stage.

“I think that Pascaud and I can be pretty satisfied with our performance and that final fifth place”, Charles Munster stated as he began his analysis. “The course in Spa was far more difficult than the one in Condroz, where I was at the wheel of the Fabia R5 for the first time.

On Saturday it was still a bit of getting the feel and in certain places, I was perhaps rather cautious. But as the day progressed, I became more confident. As confirmed by my times. On Sunday it went even better and I produced my first top three times in BRC.

The special stages were both beautiful and challenging. I am satisfied to be able to conclude 2022 in a great way with this result and performance.”

BMA also photos


05.12.2022 / MaP

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