Michael De Keersmaecker is determined to make it to the starting line in the first round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Lydden in three weeks despite an injury sustained in last weekend’s Belgian championship season opener.
Belgium’s most successful European championship racer, De Keersmaecker regularly drives in the Supernational class of his national championship both as a way of supporting the series and to keep himself race sharp. At Maasmechelen last Sunday (March 3) De Keersmaecker was driving a Volvo C30 owned by Filip Baelus but was involved in a second heat incident that resulted in him being taken to hospital. Initial fears of a broken arm were dismissed, but after several days and further medical visits, De Keersmaecker has now been told that he has sustained a torn muscle in the upper part of his left arm, an injury that could take up to eight weeks to be fully repaired.
“The problem for me was that I did not know what was wrong, I had a lot of pain in my arm but the doctors said it was not broken. It took a few days before they told me the muscle was damaged. Now we know what has happened it’s okay because I can get the right treatment and if I rest the arm properly I see no problem to race at the in the European championship event at Lydden. I’m determined to do everything I can to be on the RallycrossRX grid,” said De Keersmaecker who said the crash was the heaviest of his long career.
The incident happened after oil had been spilled on the first corner at the Duivelsbergcircuit.“There was oil on the racing line and although the officials had put some cement on it, in my opinion it was not brushed enough and in the second lap I got on the oil and spun,” said De Keersmaecker, whose C30 was then struck in the side, just behind the driver’s door, by the Opel Corsa of Danny de Beuckelaer [see on-board video from De Beuckelaer’s car below]. “Danny could not avoid a collision. This was without any doubt one of the heaviest crashes I’ve ever had, but the hans-system did its job very well.” As well as concentrating on his own fitness, De Keersmaecker will spend time in the next few weeks working with Baelus who is set to take part in the European championship’s TouringCar category with the ex-Pedro Bonnet Volvo C30 that will be run in conjunction with the JDK Racing outfit also responsible for De Keersmaecker’s Ford Focus Supercar.
The Belgian championship event was won by Swede Anton Marklund in his VW Polo, present as part of his pre-European championship test programme. “Being in position at the front of the A final took a lot of work but at the end everything fell into place. I had a great start and although Patrick Van Mechelen was right behind me. I was able to hold on the lead and took the victory. This is an important one to gain some more confidence!” said Marklund. Van Mechelen held on for second place in his first event with the ex-Jos Kuypers Fiesta VII, Kuypers third in his new Focus III and Koen Pauwels fourth on his debut with the ex-Andy Scott Focus ST, a slow start from pole costing Pauwels any chance of victory. Denis Remans (Super1600), Ivo van den Brandt (TouringCar), Steven Maris (Supernational +2000) and Martijn van Hove (Supernational -2000) were the class winners.
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