Hermen Kobus fourth in rally season opener


"Never drove this fast before!"

TAC Rally – 6th April 2013

After having won the title of Dutch vice rally champion 2012, the team of Kobus Tuning Competition decided to meet the challenge of the BFO Belgian Rally Championship. Previous weekend, Hermen and Erik started in their Ford Fiesta Super 2000 during the TAC Rally in Tielt. After a great battle from the first to the last meter, Hermen and Erik finished fourth overall, second in class 2.

The first loop of four stages around Tielt immediately made clear that it would be a difficult day for all rally drivers. There was a lot of dust and gravel in the corners, which made the smooth tarmac around Tielt even more insidious. With the thermometer stuck at 3 degrees, it was very difficult to get the tyres at the correct working temperature. Hermen finished the first loop in 6th place overall, 5.9s behind Vincent Verschueren, the Super 2000 champion of 2012.

"We opened with a fantastic second time overall, behind Freddy Loix in the Ford Focus WRC. However, a 6th place overall after 4 stages is not good enough. Just before the start of the rally we had a small problem with our new gearbox, so unfortunately we have to drive with the short gear ratio. I think that this gives us a small disadvantage, because this gearbox has a very short first, second and third gear. This results in a too aggressive handling here at the very smooth and slippery tarmac.”
In the afternoon, Hermen and Erik slightly seemed to lose their pace. Verschueren took some more distance and the great Melissa Debackere sent her Peugeot 207 S2000 in the lead. With a fantastic final sprint during the last loop of four stages, Hermen and Erik set things straight. With a second and a third time overall on the last two stages the team passed Vincent Verschueren by 0.5s and finished the rally 4th overall and second in class 2.

"I've never driven this fast before", Hermen said. "The level of competition between the Super 2000’s was extremely high today and I had push the Fiesta to the limit. On the last two stages I have taken all risks; normally I do not dive into the deepest cords to save the tyres, rims and suspension, but in the last two stages I went to the utmost. I’m happy that we could beat Vincent today. Only Melissa Debackere was a fraction faster. She has impressed me and proved to be a worthy opponent. I look forward to the next round of the championship, the Rally the Wallonie!”