The Activ8 Motorsport Team’s 3rd rally of the year was Les Boucles Chevrotines which is part of the Belgium FIRC Rally Championship and was held over the weekend 4th to 5th August. The rally took place in the vicinity of Sivry, which is a small village near the beautiful town of Beaumont some 140 miles east of Calais.
A key team principle is ‘preparation is key’ which on this occasion was a slight challenge as Malcolm (Mal) had decided to book a long summer break to the south of France in between events! Despite this, the time available prior to the holiday was utilised well with a full spanner check taking place, followed by a clutch overhaul when Mal returned. Many thanks to CG Motorsport for the quick turnaround of the clutch. Without sorting that out taking part in this event wouldn’t have been possible.
Mick “The Hammer“ Manson was not available for the rally due to the impending birth of Elliott Manson. Instead our newest team member Mindaugus Rickus (Rick) accompanied us for the weekend’s antics. Phil was told to be on his best behaviour so Rick’s nickname is currently “Esteemed and valued colleague”….. which will no doubt change over the upcoming events!
On Friday the UK contingent of the team got set up at the service area which was in Sivry itself. Then they met up with Steve Santy, our Belgium based co-driver, at the accommodation. Soleil Levant is near Beaumont and is co-owned by Jean-Marc and Marina. What a fantastic place to stay with attentive hosts – highly recommended!
Saturday was documentation and recce day. Phil and Rick were left to give the Impreza a once over whilst Mal and Steven headed out to recce in the air-conditioned X5 as temperatures soared over 30C. Needless to say, the service crew were melting for most of the weekend!
Scrutineering and documentatiion was held in Sauting which was approximately 3 miles away from the service area and as always went without a hitch. The highlight being the journey there and back for the service crew who travelled in the air-conditioned X5! That left the team to relax over a few cold ones and exceptional food in Beaumont.
Sunday was rally day and started with a short-lived drop-in temperature before the clouds cleared.
The rally itself covered 233km which comprised 4 stages making a loop that was repeated 3 times.
- Rance 9.8km
- Montbliart 11.8km
- Grandriew 7.10km
- Sivry 10.05km
The format of the rally was different than the team was previously used to. Every 2 stages a short service stop was carried out with a regroup in parc ferme, Sautin, after each stage loop.
The event went according to plan for the team with a tyre change in the morning to a slightly harder compound (T72 instead of T92) to cope with the increasing temperatures. Again, the Impreza performed faultlessly although the auxiliary fan was enabled continuously due to an early concern about high engine temperatures.
Overall the event itself ran with only minor hitches, unfortunately due to accidents on stage. After the event we discovered that over 40 cars had retired out of 120, which is a good indicator of how tough the rally was.
Organisation of the event was faultless as the competitors had minimal queuing at the start of stages and the regroup after each loop brought everything back on schedule.
A separate post has links to the on-board camera. There were a few ‘misdemeanours’ including a high-speed spin backwards into a field (no damage thankfully).
The team finished in a credible overall mid-field position which when considering the comparative budget of our team compared to other teams placed higher, it was a welcome result for the team.
A huge thank you to the event organising team of Organisation De Ecurie Automobile Rancoise and a special thank you to Cindy Delrue, Director DE Course who did a fantastic job in keeping the event moving.
Our thanks extends to the marshals, who carried out their duties with good humour and professionalism making rallying in Belgium a true pleasure.
A big thank you to Phil and Rick for putting up with the team’s service requirements (it must have been hard work sunbathing all day!)
And last but not least, a big thank you to Steven for a truly professional job in the co-driving seat. You wouldn’t think it was only his second run out with the team. He has integrated himself exceptionally well.
Roll on the Hemicuda Rally in late October being the penultimate round of the Belgium FIRC.