Kris Meeke, Mikko Hirvonen and Nicolas Ciamin gave their engines a warm up in Bastogne
They arrived, and they are definitely there! This Thursday afternoon, Kris Meeke, Mikko Hirvonen and Nicolas Ciamin had an opportunity to discover their mounts they will be driving during the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020. On a small test area, within a stone’s throw of the Place McAuliffe, the three drivers put in a ‘shakedown’, always useful prior to tackling the event’s Regularity Tests.
The first in action was Kris Meeke, who for this edition will be at the wheel of the Ford Escort MK2 of Christophe Jacob, and which Bryan Bouffier and Mikko Hirvonen brought to victory in 2018 and 2019. “I know a bit about this type of car, however the last time I drove an Escort MK2, must have been some … twelve years ago I believe, Meeke commented. So that is going back a fair while. In an event such as this one, one is immediately thrown in at the deep end. But I am delighted to be back in Belgium, where over my career I have competed in a fair number of times. However, I know absolutely nothing about this event! In the past the snow was very often present, but quite visibly it appears to be rain they are awaiting this weekend. And I’m fully aware of how these Belgian roads can be slippery under such conditions. But I’m fully determined to adapt. First and foremost, I’m out to have fun this weekend …”
On the other hand, Mikko Hirvonen was able to discover a brand-new Ford Escort MK2, which the DB-R team of Laurent Berthet and Arnaud Degen had finished rebuilding this week. “The car looks really great, the Finn confirmed. Its new, with a few minor items to adapt, but in fact there’s not much one can do to this type of car. This Shakedown was really to ensure that everything was working properly, as this Escort only has a limited number of kilometres on the odometer. And then it gives me the opportunity to get back into the swing of things at the wheel of one these machines … I really love this event, and driving one of these classic rally cars. I enjoy having a good time, and last year, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. As soon as the opportunity arose to come back here, I went for it. We’re going to blow it … !”
The final driver to get on the ‘track’ was Nicolas Ciamin. The young Nice based driver, 2nd in WRC3 at the end of the Rallye de Monte-Carlo last weekend, was clearly in admiration of the BMW M3 Gr.A of Mats Van den Brand. “I must admit that the telephone call I received from the organisers was a pleasant surprise, Nicolas remarked. I was in Barcelona, to carry out tests with a Ligier LM P3, but I didn’t hesitate for very long. In the first instance because I consider this to be an honour to have thought of us, and secondly because this M3 Gr.A is a pretty incredible machine. I’m expecting pretty tricky conditions this coming weekend, but at least less complicated than in the Monte-Carlo! Don’t count on me to get the better of Meeke and Hirvonen, the important thing is to take full advantage of this great car and the event’s atmosphere. Both Yannick Roche, my co-driver and I are delighted to be here!”
This Friday the technical scrutineering operations will continue on the Place McAuliffe, prior to making room, on the dot of 18.00hrs, for the major autograph session held under the marquee. Following that the 300 cars of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020 will head off for the centre of town, for the traditional ever more successful Parade. It goes without saying, this new edition, the first fully held in the Province of Luxembourg, is on the right track …