13th May, Mettet, Belgium
Round 3 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Jules Tacheny circuit in Mettet was an emotional weekend for GC-Kompetition as both GCK Mégane R.S. RX were introduced to the 27,000-strong Belgian crowd in quickly changing conditions with Guerlain Chicherit finishing in 5th in the sem-finals and Jérôme Grosset-Janin just missing out on the semi-finals as he ended up on his roof having been pushed into the inside barrier in Q4.
Blinding sunshine on Saturday was not the only thing heating the track as Guerlain was squeezed by Kevin Hansen into the wall on the first corner, resulting in him finishing Q1 in 12th, whilst Jérôme finished in 10th trying to find his pace.
Q2 left team GCK with mixed emotions as Guerlain powered his Megane R.S. RX to second place in his race, finishing in P7 overall, whilst Jérôme suffered an early puncture, which meant he finished in P15 overall.
Sunday saw a turn in weather and thus luck for Jérôme in Q3, having shown significantly improving pace in the warm up, which he finished in P5, and a strong P6 in Q3 later, he was 11th overall.
Guerlain showcased his increasing confidence as he put down a strong race performance in Q3 which would’ve had him finish in top 5 until contact with Kevin Hansen, who unfortunately stalled
on the racing line through the joker on the final lap, left Chicherit with a broken suspension arm and in P12 overall.
Jérôme’s race weekend finished with the GCK Mégane R.S. RX on its roof as Mattias Ektröm pushed him into the inside barrier on the first corner of Q4, leaving Jérôme naturally frustrated, although luckily unhurt.
As the weather turned worse for Q4 and the teams were having to make all-deciding calls on tire choices, Guerlain fought on slicks, coming in just behind François Duval who managed to race a strong race on wets, finishing in 12th overall and just making the semi-finals.
Guerlain lined up on the outside of row 3 in the second semi-final against Sebastien Loeb, Timmy Hansen, Andreas Bakkerud, Timur Timerzyanov and Janis Baumanis.
A solid start avoiding an early crash had Guerlain in good position to take the joker first and put him in 3rd position; a tough fight and an unfortunate driver error saw him finish 5th behind Loeb, Bakkerud, Hansen and Baumanis.
Guerlain Chicherit commented: «We had a very mixed weekend with some frustrating moments, whether caused by others or ourselves, as in the semi-final with a couple of personal errors on my side. But we also had some really good moments and key learnings – our debriefs show
improvement across the board and we can now focus on the finer details. As is the case in racing, the good follows the bad, so bring on Silverstone »
Jérôme Grosset-Janin added: «It feels great to be back here in Belgium and share this experience with the massive Belgian crowd.
Although I had some frustrating moments over the weekend, I am happy with the experience I will be walking away with.
The car is more and more effective and I can’t wait to get back in it in Silverstone.»