ERC: Bruno Thiry crowned 2003 champion

Thiry wins his first title. Bruno Thiry is the new European Rally Champion. He finished second in the 30th Condroz Rally in Belgium and thereby secured the necessary 80 points he needed to take the title. His big rival, Miguel Campos from ...

Thiry wins his first title.

Bruno Thiry is the new European Rally Champion. He finished second in the 30th Condroz Rally in Belgium and thereby secured the necessary 80 points he needed to take the title. His big rival, Miguel Campos from Portugal, who was not at the rally, finished equal on points, but Thiry had won one more event than him.

The Belgian had won the Condroz for the last two years and he was favourite to make it a hattrick of wins. Indeed he made an excellent start on Saturday and established a lead of 17.3 seconds over Freddy Loix who was driving in Belgium for the first time in 4 years. Peter Tsjoen was third, 22 seconds further back. The changeable Belgium weather took a turn for the worse on Sunday and rain made the roads very slippery. Loix closed the gap and then took the lead which he held till the finish. Thiry was 8.9 seconds behind with Tsjoen third, 55.8 seconds after the leader.

"The roads around Huy can be very treacherous in the rain and at times it felt a bit like holiday on ice, so my main aim was to get to the car to the finish and get the points I needed to win the Championship. After all the years I have been driving, this is the first title I have won and I must say it feels really good," said a delighted Thiry. "I`ve had a tremendous battle with Campos all season and I must congratulate him on doing so well, especially in rallies he was not familiar with. Naturally, I'm also pleased for Peugeot Belgium and my Kronos team who have been magnificent throughout the year."

During the course of European Rally Championships the lead had changed hands on several occasions. Campos made a perfect start winning in both Italy and Spain, Thiry scored his first points when he won in Turkey and then the Portuguese driver extended his lead when he took the honours in Poland. The rallies in Bulgaria and Belgium went to Thiry, who thereby took a narrow 40 point lead in the race for the title. However, Campos hit back by winning in Madeira and then taking second place in the Czech Republic, whilst Thiry had to retire. With a lead of 160 points, it looked like Campos was going to take the title, but then the veteran Belgian was victorious in both Greece and France and second in Condroz and thereby took the Championship.

<pre> 1. Bruno Thiry Puegoet 206 WRC 1400 points 5 wins
2. Miguel Campos Peugeot 206 WRC 1400 points 4 wins

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Series RALLY