This time we will travel to the eastern part of the Netherlands, the Hellendoorn neighborhood, where the event of the Dutch Rally Championship takes place every year. 170 kilometers of stages were waiting for the participants. Although this rally is officially a tarmac event, crews have to sweat a lot to try to get their car on the gravel and sand. Not to mention when the rain comes. Roads run through villages and small towns, so from time to time, there are gravel roads. Also, drivers tend to cut corners heavily and the road gets dirty pretty quickly. Some drivers, intentionally or unintentionally, have the ability to cut a meter – another even through cornfields. And here’s a brief look at the Dutch Championship itself and the guest who has only missed one of this event in a decade.
The Netherlands is a small country. So out of the seven rounds of the championship, two take place in neighboring countries. Usually one in the north-east – in Germany, and the other in the south-west – in Belgium. All events of the championship take place on tarmac roads. But as in the Hellendoorn rally, you can often find gravel sections that add some spice to the event. As in pretty much all western Europe, R5 cars fight for the victories. There are 3 to 11 R5 crews in Dutch events. This rally is probably the most visited. As all rallies are on tarmac roads, the country also has a strong and diverse RGT class. Cars like Opel Manta, Nissan 350Z, BMW 130i, or Volvo 242 Turbo can be found near or in the Top 10. Historic cars like the Opel Ascona, Ford Escort, or Lancia Delta also fight in overall standings.
Since 2009 the Hellendoorn Rally has always attracted (apart from 2018) one famous guest. He was an active participant and 2009 champion of the Dutch Rally Championship from 2009 to 2012. But the athlete turned to off-road racing and debuted at the 2012 Dakar Rally. Surprisingly, the Dutchman took a record eighth place and Bernhard ten Brinke’s name became much more famous in the motorsport world. Bernhard is an entrepreneur who runs many businesses, but that doesn’t stop him from being active in the motorsport kitchen. Recently, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Dakar team announced their line-up for the 2020 Dakar Rally, where we can see Brinke’s name there. Bernhard is actively training for the Dakar Rally, but from time to time he also tries to take part in the classic rally, usually – the Hellendoorn Rally. Although this is the 10th start, Bernhard has won the rally just once. This happened in 2010 with the Ford Focus WRC ’08.
This year, Bernhard ten Brinke with the Škoda Fabia R5 Evo was really close to snatching another victory. No matter how hard he tried, Bernhard had to admit the advantage of compatriot Jasper van den Heuvel, who drove the Ford Fiesta R5. It took just twenty seconds between them.
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