Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: Belgium

Vicky van de Walle and navigator Michelle Demeestere with the Mini Cooper, in 2013

Belgium's most successful female driver, Melissa Debackere, has her own profile here.

Daisy Cols - former Belgian driver. She competed in the Belgian Division Two Championship in a Fiat Punto in 2003, as part of a team with her brother, Larry. In 2004, she continued in the Fiat and won the Coupe des Dames and Class A7 in the Boucles de Spa. She repeated her A7 win in the Rallye de Wallonie. Her career began in 1999, driving a Citroen Saxo.

Evelien de Corte – competed on and off in the Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy in Belgium, between 2011 and 2013. She began rallying at the age of 20, in 2010, in a Peugeot 106, and drove a Renault Twingo in the Moorslede rallypsrint in 2011. As a Fiesta Sport Trophy driver, her best 2011 result was 30th, in the Criterium section of the TAC Rally. After 2011, her funding started to run out, and she only managed the Rally of Wallonie in 2012, in which she was 61st. In 2013, she finished the Geko Ypres Rally in 53rd place, but did not compete for the rest of the season. Her website is no longer being updated. 

Valina Dechamps - driver and  co-driver who usually competes in rallysprint and Belgian club events. She was her club’s female champion in 2011 and 2012. In recent years, she has driven a Peugeot 206 and 306. In 2006 and 2007, she competed in some major Belgian rallies, in a Toyota Yaris. She was 39th in the 2007 East Belgian Rally and 104th in the 2006 Rallye Condroz-Huy. Her club activities often seem to be in the Hannut region. On the navigation side, she sat with Sebastien Honnay in the Micky Rallysprint in 2013. She remained active as a driver in 2014, competing the Achene Rallysprint at least, in a Peugeot 306. In 2015, she rallied a Peugeot 207, but did not finish any of the events she entered. 

Aurélie Dehaye - Belgian driver, active since 2006. Her first car was a VW Polo, which she used in Belgian rallies. She continued to rally a Polo for the next couple of seasons, and by 2008, she was winning her class. Both the Rally of Wallonie and the East Belgian Rally gave her N1 wins. After a break, she returned in 2012 in a VW Golf, and immediately scored her first top-twenty finish, an eleventh in the Criterium section of the Rally of Wallonie. She carried on entering major stage rallies in 2013, but also some more rallysprints, in which she was quite successful, finishing second in the Rallye Sprint Winning and fifth in the Villersois event. She continued to rally a Golf and a VW Polo in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, she was twelfth in the Trois-Ponts Rally, in the Golf. This event was her best rally in 2016, too, and she was fifth, in the Golf. She finished in the top twenty in three more Belgian rallies in 2016. In 2017, she took a leap forward in terms of results. She picked up her first podium, a third in the Achene Rallysprint, and was fourth in the Trois-Ponts Rally. These were two of four top-ten finishes she had. Her car the still the VW. She continued to shine in rallysprints in 2018, finishing second in the Villersois event. Her navigator is Eddy Gully.

Julie Devalet - won the Citroen Racing Junior Trophy in Belgium in 2013. She won her class in the three rounds that she entered: the Ypres Rally, Rallye du Condroz and East Belgian Rally. Her car was a Citroen DS3 R1. She also drove in the Luxembourg Rally, and was 30th overall. Her usual navigator, Jennifer Thielen, was Luxembourgish. Previously, she did some Belgian rallies in 2006, in a Skoda Fabia. She also navigated from 2004 onwards, and helped her partner Caren Burton to second overall in the 2013 Rallye des Trois-Ponts. In 2014, she rallied in Belgium and Luxembourg, in the Citroen. Her best finish was 43rd, with a class win, in the Rally of Luxembourg. In 2015, she switched between driving an navigation, in Belgian rallies. As a driver, she used an Opel Adam, and was 39th in the East Belgian Rally. In 2016, she did some co-driving, but her only outing behind the wheel was as the course car in the Spa Rally. In 2019, she rallied a Skoda Fabia R2 in the Herock Spa Rally, finishing 28th.

Christelle Fameree - has competed on and off in Belgium since at least 2000. She has driven or co-driven in at least 16 runnings of the Rallye du Condroz, in cars including an Opel/Vauxhall Astra and a Peugeot 106. In 2013, she was 77th, in a Peugeot 207. Apart from major rallies, she is a regular in club and lower-level events, including rallysprints. She has entered the Micky Rallysprint on several occasions, and was 41st in 2013. In 2014, she was thirteenth in the Criterium section of the Rallye de Wallonie, in the 207. Another season in the 207, in 2015, was mainly rallysprints, and she competed exclusively in rallysprints in 2016. In 2017, she tried some multi-stage events again, the Condroz-Huy and Wallonie rallies. 2018 was similar and she had a best finish of 25th in the Haillot rallysprint. She did more stage rallies in 2019, including the Wallonie and Condroz-Huy events. She is from a rallying family: her father and partner prepare her cars, and she is navigated by her mother, Arlette Faniel. 

Dorothée Jacquemin - rallied mostly in France and Belgium in the 1980s and early 1990s. Her earliest car was a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, which she used between 1983 and 1985. Her best result in it was a ninth place in the Rallye Internationale Charlemagne in France, in 1985. In 1987, she started driving a Peugeot 205, and in 1988, the focus of her motorsport activities switched to France. She achieved two more top-ten finishes during her career: a fifth in the Charlemagne event in 1988, and a ninth in the Picardie National Rally in 1989, both in the Peugeot. In 1992, she had one last season, and rallied a Citroen AX Sport in Europe, including a run in the Manx International Rally in the UK. She was 35th. Between 1989 and 1992, she was ladies’ champion of France in Division 2. Her husband, Jean-Marie Jacquemin, was also a rally driver. Much earlier, Dorothée occasionally acted as his navigator.

Patricia Nijs - driver and co-driver who has moved between the two roles. She first appears in the Belgian championship in 2004, navigating for Phil Nijs. In 2006, she had a season as a driver, competing in the Belgian championship and the Ypres Westhoek Rally, a round of the IRC and European Championship. In this rally, she drove a Ford Fiesta, and was 60th overall. Her best result was 19th, seventh in class, in the Rally of Haspengouw, in a Subaru Impreza WRX. In 2013, she returned to the stages in a different Impreza, and was 22nd in the Shortrally of Suikerstreek and 19th in the Rally van Sint-Truiden. She made a one-off return in 2017, driving the Impreza in the Criterium Jean-Louis Dumont. 

Magali Schutz – Belgian driver and co-driver who has been competing since at least 2005. For most of her career, she has remained in the co-driver’s seat, but she began driving herself in 2015. Her first car was a Citroen Saxo, which she mostly used in rallysprints. In 2016, she used a Peugeot 206 and a Renault Clio, finishing most of her events. Her best result was a 39th overall, in the Boucles Clavieroises, driving the Peugeot. She was also second in class in the Villersois Rallysprint, in the Clio. 2017 was spent doing some rallysprints in the Clio. 

Vicky van de Walle - long-time navigator who has recently switched to the driver’s seat. She has been co-driving since at least 1999, and was Hans Vancampenhoudt’s regular navigator in 2000. She also co-drove Melissa Debackere, and did a one-off rally with her in 2013. She had her first driving experience in a Mini in 2011, in the Tour of Flanders, with a Mini. She did not finish. In 2013, in another Mini Cooper, she did four rounds of the Belgian championship, plus the Rally of Luxembourg. Her best finish was 29th, in the ORC Canal Rally, which was won by Melissa Debackere. She drove the Mini again in 2014, and was 55th in the 6 Uren van Kortrijk. In 2015, she returned to co-driving, in historic rallies. 

(Image from


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