Home soil and a thirty-nine point lead for Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart as WSC heads for Lommel
The relentless pilgrimage around Europe continues for the WSC crews as they trek from Estonia to Belgium for the eighth round in the series. It has been back to back races for the last two Grand Prix, so Lommel makes it three in a row.
It also brings the red plate holders Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den Bogaart to home territory, and conditions where almost certainly the young Belgian cut his teeth. He and Koen Hermans the equally young Dutchman, along with his French World Champion co-driver Nicolas Musset, trail Vanluchene by thirty-nine points. Whilst that sounds a lot, it is less than two podiums, and at this stage in the season, that is still a small margin.
In less of a comfortable position is the third place crew Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis. Their deficit has been growing by the race, and they are searching hard to find what it takes to overcome the young Belgian pretender. In fairness, since overcoming their serious injury problems, they have shown great promise and speed, but Vanluchene always seems to have an answer for them.
Now up to fourth, Stuart Brown and Joe Millard have fought hard from a slow start, and will certainly be hoping for good things in the sand of Belgium. Spare a thought for the ten times champion Daniel Willemsen. He has had a torrid time this season with racing injuries, a road traffic crash, and penalties imposed by the officialdom.
But for these massive setbacks, he would be in a far healthier position, and possibly third in the standings. He and Robbie Bax were furious in Estonia when disqualified completely from race one for noise level infringement. He was overall winner in Lommel just one year ago, so maybe his luck is about to change.
It has been a season like no other in recent years, but one thing is for sure. The two youngsters at the head of the table are not only riding brilliantly, but they also have the vital ingredient of being blessed with good fortune. At the risk of tempting fate, will it last all season long?
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From Barry Nutley