Under a bright sun, the ELE rally started on Friday 2 June at Kerkplein in Son.
Mayor Suzanne Otters-Bruijnen gave the starting signal to the first participants, who then went to Aston and Lirop, to win special stages there. With lots of spectators and great rally action on the special stages there, it was a great first evening for the teams, spectators and everyone who cares about ELE Rally.
Partly off a good start to the season in Sulingen (D), Bob de Jong and Erik de Wilde in their Hyundai i20 R5 surfaced immediately with tight times in the first two special stages at Aston and Lirop and immediately opened a gap of almost 10 seconds by German team Björn Storius and Hanna Ostlander, debuting with a Ford Fiesta Rally 2.
Kevin van Dijken and Hein Verschuren (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) were able to keep the pace with a gap of 15 seconds. After a service in the locality De Nockert in Veghel, the program had the same special steps again. De Jong and De Wilde again came off the starting blocks and with the contest the gap got even bigger. However, in the final test, it was Satorius who took off with the fastest time on the powerful special stage LIROP. Good for the tension in the match, which will continue tomorrow as well.
Further back in the starting area, the various cups also stood apart. In the GR Yaris Challenge, Yannick Vreelink will continue what he did so well last year: clocking blazing fast times! This time navigated by Harm van Koppen, who of course drove with various top drivers. It’s great to see them turning up the heat on R5/Rally2 cars. For the time being, local hero Roel van der Zanden cannot yet compete in the front sectors of the GR Yaris Challenge. However, he also hinted that they are building it slowly and there is still a long game ahead.
In the Clio Trophy (a total of 14 Clios initially in both Rally4 and Rally5 editions) John Koemans and Reinaldo Lear are the first to finish on the first evening in the Rally5 edition. With a negligible difference of 3.1, Albert Deij and Nadia Muilwijk still have every chance to win in this class.
Eindhoven’s success is in the RC4 class (where it’s a good mix of Renault Clios and Ford Fiesta in Rally4 version) where the MVH Rally Team lead the dance with Martijn van Hoek and Angela Keuper.
Unfortunately, there were also dropouts. Maurik van den Heuvel’s Ferrari 308 GTB crashed out of the rally too early, but according to the latest news will resume on Saturday. Then the sympathy team from Schijndal to Dalton Rallysport was on fire. Hopefully the damage isn’t too bad, they could just use a little luck there.
In the ELE Historic Rally, Rally Team van der Heijden is leading in a Lancia Delta HF Integrale, followed by Belgian Team De Leeuw and Van Hoof in an Opel Ascona A. Antoine Bichevel and Saskia Blajenberg immediately presented their new MATS M3 E30 a good baptism of fire with a good third place for the time being with prospects for better classifications.
Saturday’s rally-loving Netherlands again brought a lot of good. They start with a service, after which the tone is set with the Stripes campaign special stage, which will be held three times in total. Through the ELE Classics Wintelre, Spordonk, Sint-Oedenrode and Son, it will be announced on Saturday evening who will be the winner of the 58th ELE Rally.