Report and photos by Jurrie Vanhalle
The Legend Boucles de Spa 2011 was held 18-19 February in the countryside outside the town of Spa in Belgium. The Legend Boucles de Spa, now organized for the 6th time to remember the ‘real’ Boucles de Spa which was held between 1953 and 1990, has become one of the biggest historic rally events in Europe.
At this 53th Boucles the Spa no less than 365 historic cars (more than the Monte-Carlo Historic Rally) were registered, a new record with 33 different manufacturers and 15 different nationalities. Besides the cars, the driver line-up was very impressive too! Names as Vatanen, Waldegard, Blomqvist and Aaltonen were present and determined to drive their historic cars on the limit against the Belgian participant as Thiry, Loix, Duval, Snijers and ‘allrounder’ Duez.
The Legend Boucles de Spa has always been a very challenging rally, with no less than 14 previous winners participated in this 2011 edition: Bruno Thiry (2010), Marc Duez (1983 and 2007), Patrick Snijers (1981, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1995, 2008 and 2009), Bernard Munster (1999), Marc Timmers (2006), Chavan (1968 and 1970), Bjorn Waldegard (1985) and Stig Blomqvist (1976 and 1980).
For this edition the Scandinavian rally legends Blomqvist and Waldegard participated with the same car, a Ford Escort BDA Group 4 in the official Ford colors of 1977. A third Ford Escort is driven by British driver Simon Everett who finished third in the 1982 edition. 44 years after his victory in the Rally de Monte Carlo, the 73-year old Rauno Aaltonen again drove a Mini Cooper in the same livery! As every year there is also a mystery guest driver. This year it was current WRC driver Henning Solberg who participated in a Mazda RX-7 Group B.
This rally event is divided into two classes, the Legends and Classic where the classics have to complete the stages with an average of 50km/h and the legends at 80 km/h
Before the real start on Saturday morning there where already two special stages on Friday evening to decide the starting order on Saturday. Unfortunately a lot of the participants already had to retire in these first ‘pre-stages’. Due to electricity problems, the engine of Henning Solberg’s Mazda malfunctioned with a retirement as a result. The Lancia Stratos of Perez had gearbox problems and wasn’t able to finish the first stage. Also on the Saturday some participants had to retire too soon, with the Saab 96 V4 (1967) having an early engine failure. There were also problems with the timing system, which meant that the teams didn’t know the actual standings.
The large amount of spectators, fortunately, saw a spectacular show with some of the nicest historic rally cars and they weren’t distracted by the timing problems. Something which can’t be said of the participants because the Porsche 911 SC RS Gr.B of Patrick Snijers was leading the event, but due to the lack of timing and a penalty coefficient for more recent cars, he lost the first place to Stefaan Stouf in a Ford Escort MkI (1975).
For more information, visit www.race-rally.be.
Legend Boucles de Spa 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: Jurrie Vanhalle]