So I started off with the idea that this would be called “The Ghost of Belgium’s (Rallying) Past”, but on the weekend Duval and Loix both fronted up for a blast in the Belgium Rally Championship and both were having a decent go and battling for the lead before typical JCW Mini WRC issues struck and forced Duval out of the event. Loix went on to win the event by a good 3 minutes, being cocky enough that at the last stage and leading by 3min 30sec that he let his co-driver take the wheel for the final stage, dropping a respectable 30 seconds over the 14 or so kilometers.
So, onto the point of this thing; Belgium drivers have always shown talent and potential in the WRC
Loix and Duval have always had the speed and talent to be top line WRC drivers, and for a number of years Duval was both Ford and Citroen’s great next big thing, I mean both teams saw it, they saw the speed and the potential there, Duval still has it, but he fell victim to what is becoming common place in the WRC these days, young kids having to mature in front line WRC cars in works teams. Duval did actually win a WRC round back in 2005 in a works Citroen (Rally Australia for those of you playing at home, also the year Colin McRae showed what a Skoda could actually do when driven on the limit and Loeb hit a small tree.)
Fast Freddy on the other hand had some moderate success in the 90’s with second placings for Toyota in the TTE days with a second place in Portugal in 1997 and again in Spain in 1998. Both drivers have always had the speed to run at the front, but be it bad luck, bad management or a need for speed that just could not be controlled, they both have vanished from the WRC and are but a memory to team managers, though Duval is in talks to have a run at Rally Germany in a Citroen. Mikko must be shitting his pants really, Sordo and Duval on tarmac, sorry Mikko, you’re about number 3 on the list of Citroen drivers for this round.
So back to the topic; waffles and Thierry Neuville. Now a delicious plate of Belgium Waffles has never let anyone down, Loix and especially Duval have, well they let me down, not going on to fulfill their WRC potential. Thierry Neuville, take note, listen to me, lean from history. You’ve won two of the most challenging ex-WRC events when you were in the IRC (Sanremo and Corsica both in 2011), you have talent, apart from your error in Portugal this year, and the tricky spot on the Monte that has caught you two years running (thank goodness they are relocating next year), you’ve shown the maturity required to make it in the WRC. Learn from Duval, go have a coffee with him and share a plate of waffles, bring Loix along, you did beat him in the IRC after all. Take your time, show speed when required, keep getting those podiums and you’ll make it.
Besides, at the end of the day, your glasses are way cooler than Jerry Matt’s, I don’t care what Hitchcock Blonde says about them being trendy and having to match your watch, you’re hip, you’re cool, you’re fast, you’re mature, you’re living the dream, don’t screw it up and for what it’s worth; don’t let me down, I’ve been singing you praise all year, you owe me one come Rally Australia, waffles are on me, I’ll make sure the Coffee Club at Park Beach Plaza is ready for us.