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Vincent Verschueren reclaims Belgian championship lead after Omloop van Vlaanderen win. In France, ŠKODA FABIA R5s claim a one-two win in the Michelin Trophy at the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine as well as in the overall classification of the Rallye Régional Velay Auvergne. Marco Gianesini wins Rally di Reggello – Città di Firenze in Italy. And there are podium finishes for FABIA R5s in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Italy and Sweden.

Vincent Verschueren finally wins in Flanders to top Belgian championship standings

Vincent Verschueren claimed victory at the Omloop van Vlaanderen (1st to 2nd September), the seventh round of the Belgian Rally Championship, to move the top of the championship standings.

Vincent Verschueren / Veronique Hostens, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Duindistel. Omloop van Vlaanderen 2017 (Foto: BRC Media)

Driving for the GoDrive Racing team alongside co-driver Veronique Hostens, Verschueren started well and after the opening four special stages sat in second place just 1.5 seconds behind fellow ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver and championship rival Kris Princen, who was driving for Bernard Munster Autosport alongside co-driver Peter Kaspers. But an accident on SS5 ended Princen’s involvement and led to Verschueren and FABIA WRC driver Andy Lefevere battling at the head of the field.

Kris Princen / Peter Kaspers, ŠKODA FABIA R5. Omloop van Vlaanderen 2017 (Photo: BRC Media)

With WRC cars unable to score points in the Belgian championship, Verschueren’s priority was to remain in front of his other title rival Kevin Abbring, so he didn’t push too hard and Lefevere eased into the lead. But as heavy rain fell towards the end of the rally, he too crashed out on SS16 to leave the way clear for Verschueren to claim victory ahead of Abbring by a margin of 59.8 seconds.

Vincent Verschueren

Behind Verschueren, there was an impressive fourth place finish for the SXM Compétition FABIA R5 of Achiel Boxoen / Jasper Vermeulen. This is Boxoen’s first season driving an R5 car and this represents his best result in the Belgian championship so far.

Achiel Boxoen / Jasper Vermeulen, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Atlantic. Omloop van Vlaanderen 2017 (Photo: BRC Media)
Achiel Boxoen

His victory sees Vincent Verschueren climb to the top of the Belgian championship standings. He now has 84 points, 16 more than Kevin Abbring and Kris Princen, with two rounds remaining. The next event of the season will be the East Belgian Rally, which takes place on 29th and 30th September.

Quentin Giordano on the podium at the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine

There was a podium finish for Quentin Giordano at the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine (1st to 2nd September), the sixth round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship. Giordano came home in third place overall and first in the Michelin Trophy standings, a result which leaves him second in the overall championship standings behind Yoann Bonato.

Quentin Giordano / Kévin Parent, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Sébastien Loeb Racing. Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine 2017

Giordano, who was driving a FABIA R5 for the Sébastien Loeb Racing team alongside co-driver Kévin Parent, drove a consistent rally, finishing in the top 4 in all but three of the twelve special stages driven. He was ultimately rewarded for his endeavours when rival Jérémi Ancian, who sat in second place, was forced to change his wheel after a crash and fell back to fifth.

Quentin Giordano

Just 27 seconds behind Giordano, and in fourth place overall and second in the Michelin Trophy standings, was the FABIA R5 of Charles Martin / Thierry Salva. Driving for RTTC – Yacco team, in a car prepared and run by Team FJ, Martin was driving his first ever rally in a FABIA R5 and steadily improved his performance as he got more used to the car, culminating in second place finishes in the final two stages of the rally.

Charles Martin / Thierry Salva, ŠKODA FABIA R5, RTTC - Yacco. Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine 2017

Further down the field, Michel Giraldo was making his first start in the French Tarmac Championship in a FABIA R5 after two previous victories with this car in French Cup events. Alongside co-driver Méryl Giraldo, he brought the car home in eighth position overall and fifth in the Michelin Trophy standings. Behind them, in tenth place overall and seventh in the Michelin Trophy standings, was the Team FJ FABIA R5 of Fabrice Bect / Arnaud Michal.

Michel Giraldo / Méryl Giraldo, ŠKODA FABIA R5. Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine 2017

The next round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship will be the Rallye Coeur de France which takes place on 29th and 30th September.

Two ŠKODA FABIA R5s on the podium at the Rallye Trebišov as Slovak Championship goes to final round

At the first ever Rallye Trebišov (1st to 2nd September), the sixth round of the Slovak Rally Championship, there were some impressive performances from FABIA R5 drivers.

Martin Koči / Filip Schovánek, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Styllex Motorsport s.r.o.. Rallye Trebišov 2017

Martin Koči / Filip Schovánek, who were driving for the Styllex Motorsport team, brought their FABIA R5 home in the runners-up position. Koči claimed victory in two of the event’s six special stages and finished just 5 seconds behind the overall winner Pavel Valoušek, who was in a more powerful WRC car.

Martin Koči

Joining Koči on the podium was the Rufa Sport FABIA R5 of Polish duo Grzegorz Grzyb / Jakub Wróbel. They were just 20 seconds further down the round and managed to claim one stage victory of their own.

Grzegorz Grzyb / Jakub Wróbel, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Rufa Sport. Rallye Trebišov 2017

Further down the field in sixth position was the Drotár Autosport FABIA R5 of Igor Drotár / Tomáš Plachý. Drotár seemed happy with the result and was full of praise for the first running of this event.

Igor Drotár

This result means it’s as you were at the top of the Slovak Rally Championship standings with Valoušek leading the way from Koči in second and Grzyb still in third place. There is just one round of the season remaining, the Rally Košice, which takes place from the 20th to 22nd October.

NEWS IN BRIEF

In the third round of the Bulgarian Rally Championship at the Rally Sliven (1st to 3rd September), Romanian crew of Dan Gîrtofan / Tudor Mârza finished in third place for the ŠKODA România Motorsport team. It was Gîrtofan’s first rally outside Romania since 2008 and the two-time Romanian champion was using the event to get accustomed with his FABIA R5 after the summer break. “We loved this rally and I'm very happy that we decided to come here,” said Dan Gîrtofan. “I enjoyed every metre of the rally, but we didn’t take unnecessary risks to avoid causing any damage to the car ahead of next week’s Raliul Iașului.”

The Lakeland Stages Rally (2nd September) was the fifth round of both the Irish Forest Rally Championship and the Northern Ireland Rally Championship. It saw Derek McGarrity, who has been Irish Tarmac champion twice and Northern Irish champion three times, make his debut drive in a FABIA R5. Alongside co-driver Noel O'Sullivan, he finished in fourth place overall and second in the Northern Irish standings.

Thibault Habouzit / Sandra Fargier claimed their third French Cup win of the year in their 3D Autos FABIA R5 at the Rallye Régional Velay Auvergne (1st to 2nd September). They finished 45 seconds ahead of fellow FABIA R5 competitors Stéphane Abrial / Isabelle Sicard, who were in their first event of the season, in a car prepared and run by Rally Service Racing.

To Italy and the Rally di Reggello - Città di Firenze (2nd to 3rd September), in the Italian Regional Championship (Zone 5), where the Top Rally FABIA R5 of Marco Gianesini / Marco Bergonzi claimed victory by a margin of 55.2 seconds on their debut drive in the car.

Elsewhere in Italy, the Rallye des Alpes du Mont Blanc (1st to 2nd September) saw Patrick Gagliasso / Enrico Ghietti finish in third place for the Eurospeed team, in a car prepared and run by Roger Tuning. It was just Gagliasso third drive in a FABIA R5 and also his third podium finish.

At the Strömkarlsrallyt (2nd September) in Sweden, there was a second place finish for Kjell Sandberg / Göran Lönnmark. They brought their FABIA R5 home just 7.1 seconds behind the overall winner Ronnie Jacobsson.

At the Woodpecker Stages Rally (2nd September) on the English/Welsh borders, Thomas Preston / Stuart Louden were the best placed R5 car, finishing in seventh place overall.

And finally, to Paraguay and the Super Prime Pre-Chaco (2nd to 3rd September), the fifth round of the Paraguayan rallysprint series, where Tiago Weiler / Gustavo Gavilan finished in third place in their FABIA R5.

COMING UP THIS WEEKEND

Date Rally Surface
8-10 Sep Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally African Rally C’ship Round 6 Gravel
8-9 Sep SM Oili Jalonen Ralli Finish Rally C’ship Round 6 Gravel
8-9 Sep Rallye Niedersachsen German Rally C’ship Round 7 Asphalt
7-9 Sep Rajd Dolnośląski Polish Rally C’ship Round 4 Asphalt
9-10 Sep Istanbul Rallisi Turkish Rally C’ship Round 5 Gravel
8-10 Sep Raliul Iasului Romanian Rally C’ship Round 6 Gravel
8-9 Sep Rally Elektrėnai Lithuanian Rally C’ship Round 5 Gravel
8 Sep East Sweden Rally Swedish Rally C’ship Round 6 Gravel