With the 2018 edition confirmed to be held on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th February, the Legend Boucles at Bastogne is already making the news. All the more so seeing the changes are as numerous as important. Starting off with the creation of an intermediary category between Legend (Target Time) and Classic (60 km/h average), christened Challenger, with the return of a set average of 80 km/h.
“Since the arrival of the ‘Target Time’ in ‘Legend’, some had a tendency of pulling up their noses, realising that it would become impossible for them to hope for a result when up against such drivers as Thierry Neuville, to mention but him, Pierre Delettre, the organiser explained. In the same breath other drivers made it known that the 60 km/h average in ‘Classic’ was too slow to their liking. By creating this new ‘Challenger’ category, we hope to be able to satisfy the greatest number, with teams having the opportunity to aim for overall victory, and others finally able to increase the pace, without nonetheless having to measure up to the references in ‘Legend’. The average will therefore be 80 km/h, whatever the regularity test. Only the time registered at the Flying Finish will be taken into account. The timing system will be identical to that of the ‘Legend’, and the ‘Challenger’ entrants will set off immediately after that ‘Legend’ category. The registration fee will also be identical to that of the flagship category.”
On the ‘Classic’ category front, the registration fee has been increased, out of respect for the other competitors. “Wishing to organise an extraordinary event, with a course definitely one of the most beautiful in Europe exclusively earmarked for classics, we are making our lives difficult … and we are hitting the ceiling when it comes to costs, Pierre Delettre continued. Multiplying the special gravel stages on the Sunday, and offering RTs of an unprecedented length, worthy of the RAC Rally, comes at a price. High. Ever higher in fact. On the other hand, the entry fee for ‘Classic’ has not evolved over the last few years, whereas it has changed from a one-day into a two-day event. There is also the ‘Tracking’ system, which does not exist in any other regularity event, as also the telephone app allowing one to follow the progress of the various teams. On top of that let us not forget the fleece jacket offered to all drivers, the rally’s official aluminium plaque in lieu of the basic sticker version, and the DVD sent to each driver and co-driver after the event. It was therefore decided that for the 2018 edition the registration fee would be increased from 1,050 to 1,350 euros. In reality this remains reasonable if one compares it to other regularity events that in no way boast the prestige of the Legend Boucles©. “
For the first time since the creation of the event back in 2006, there will be some rectifier coefficients based on the vehicle’s age in the ‘Legend’ and ‘Challenger’ categories (nothing changes in Classic). With a view to creating sporting fairness, as also avoiding errors regarding the years of manufacture and homologation, following numerous simulations, it was decided to only apply the following rectifier coefficients: 0,95 for cars homologated before 31st December 1961, 1,05 for cars homologated between 1st January 1982 and 31st December 1986, and 1,1 for cars of more than 2000cc with all-wheel drive. There will no longer be rectifier coefficients for cars homologated between 1st January 1962 and 31st December 1981.
Last but not least, even though the course remains secret and the recces are limited to the Friday for the non-forest sections of the first stage, we can already announce that there will be a fair number of novelties as compared to previous editions: “Our playing field is so vast and the demand so high that we can take the liberty of visiting certain communes only every other year, Pierre Delettre, the organiser continued. As such in 2018, we will be covering four new communes. Saturday’s stage will be comprised out of six Regularity Tests to be covered twice amounting to a total of 106 km, whereas Sunday’s forest stage will be made up of no less than seven special stages on ‘gravel’ all in line, and therefore different, of which 104 km of timed sections and one new one of no less than 35 km long! Sporting fun is definitely on the books as also the opportunity to discover some of our country’s splendid countryside.”
RAC Spa remains at the disposal of all those wishing to receive additional details. Apart from that, next stop Bastogne…