Stéphane Lefebvre now on the list of winners
of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne
After having concluded the first stage of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne as leader, Stéphane Lefebvre, co-driven by Xavier Portier, did not hesitate to win this Sunday's 2022 edition of the event. At the wheel of Christophe Jacob's well-known Ford Escort MK2, the driver from the North of France not only dominated the competition on the RT forest roads, but he also delighted a very large and family-oriented audience, while taking a maximum of pleasure himself...
As soon as the TRC of the first section of this Sunday, the tone was set, and Stéphane Lefebvre had 'the banana'! It was just great," he told WRRC, the official radio of the event. We had an incredible time! We went through the forest, on the ground, at 150 km/h, the car was bouncing around, it was pure driving happiness!
The rest of the rally was of the same standard, with Lefebvre and Portier setting the fastest times to win comfortably and thus succeed champions such as Thierry Neuville, Brian Bouffier, Mikko Hirvonen and Kris Meeke in the event's prize list! This weekend was one of my best experiences in rallying," said Stéphane as he stepped off the podium. This car on this kind of course is crazy! I just had a great time and a huge amount of fun!
Approachable, smiling, very generous in his efforts, Lefebvre was unanimously appreciated, and his direct competitors could not but recognize him. Starting with Cédric Cherain (Porsche 911 Gr.4), who went back for the honour after his broken drive shaft in RT2. These alternating dirt and asphalt sections are really interesting with this type of car", commented the driver from Liege. Without my cardan shaft problems, I would probably have been able to follow Stéphane's pace on Saturday. On Sunday, however, he was faster...".
The fight for the other places on the final podium was certainly breathtaking. Until the last RT, it was Stefaan Stouf (Ford Escort MK1), winner of the Legend Boucles de Spa in 2011, who was holding on to the lead... until he had a flat tire! The result: it was Christophe Daco (Ford Escort MK2), the local of the stage, who emerged in his well-known colours, offering himself silver laurels that looked like victory! I'm overjoyed", commented Daco on the podium. Today, we wanted above all to get through with my co-driver Jonathan Lemaire, while preserving the mechanics. It worked for us! It was a sick route and a fantastic rally...".
Frédéric François (Ford Escort MK2), another regional of the stage, would certainly have deserved a place on the podium. Penalized the day before for having crossed a 'Slow Zone' too quickly, the driver attacked the RT Foresters with the knife between his teeth, to the point of being ahead of Lefebvre in the RT12 Eglantine! Unfortunately, the gearbox gave up the ghost shortly afterwards... It was another regional driver, Loïc Pirot (Ford Escort MK2), who came out to take 4th place in the final, after having been penalised the day before. A similar situation to the one of Olivier Cartelle (Ford Escort MK2), disappointed, who preferred not to start again this Sunday as soon as he could not claim the podium.
Gérard Marcy (Porsche 911 Gr.4) completed the top 5 with Louis Louka, ahead of the beautiful Opel Manta 400 'Safari' of Jean-André Collard, the spectacular Volvo 142 and 242 of Guillaume Glaude and Bernard Lamy, the Opel Corsa of Sébastien Incardona and the Opel Manta 200 of Benoît Galand on the final podium.
The excellent performance of a certain Yannick Neuville (Toyota Starlet), who was amazingly efficient and who accumulated some excellent times, should be highlighted. One or other penalty on the road, in addition to an engine running on two cylinders, sent him further down the ranking, but Yannick did not go unnoticed, under the gaze of his brother Thierry Neuville, who was travelling... by helicopter from RT to RT! Magical...
As for Renaud Verreydt (Ford Escort MK1), who had transmission and clutch problems on Saturday, he was keen to do the RTs on Sunday, in order to thank his countless supporters for all the expressions of sympathy he has received in recent weeks. Mission accomplished, and certainly one of the emotional sequences of this edition!
And the winners are...
In a new 'Youngtimers' category that is set to grow, Charles Blerot (BMW 325i) had a lot of fun at the wheel of his powerful Bavarian car, ahead of... his brother Nicolas, who was taming a similar car. David Delvigne's original Nissan Sunny GTI-R completed the first podium of this race in the race.
In the Challenger class, the victory went once again to a regional driver, in this case Jencôme Theis (Ford Escort MK1), who dominated the race on Saturday before receiving a heavy penalty... which was later cancelled! He was ahead of the BMW 325i of Sébastien Mauroit and the Alfa Romeo GTV6 of the 2020 winner Dimitri van Hove.
In the 'Classic 60' category, Patrick Lambert, winner in 2020, was this time accompanied by Yannick Albert. The BMW 2002 Ti of the BM02 team was in the lead for most of the race and finally won ahead of Frenchman Christophe Berteloot, also a former winner, and Baptiste Gengoux (Porsche 924). The podium was completed by Gaëtan Schoonbroodt and François Gehlen (Ford Escort MK1), who narrowly beat the spectacular Porsche 911 SC of Johan and Joppe Gitsels.
In the 'Classic 50', Dominique Dufrasne and Isabelle Dogné (DAF Marathon) are beautiful winners, so they can exchange a few kisses on the podium! All the atmosphere of the Legend Boucles... The couple beat the imposing Mercedes 450 SLC 5 litres of Frenchmen Emmanuel Barres and Nicolas Le Gall, as well as the Volvo 122 of Robert Rorife and Guy Peigneux.
Curtain on the 2022 edition of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne. And in the ranks of the R.A.C. Spa, the first wish is to find the initial date, at the beginning of February, in 2023, as well as the festive part and the podium on a certain Place McAuliffe...