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Van Merksteijn Motorsport will have this Saturday during the Haspengouw Rally a unique international pair of champions at the start. Around the Belgian village of Landen, Dutch champion Bernhard Ten Brinke will team up with Belgian champion Eddy Chevaillier for the first time in the Ford Focus WRC 08 with start number 2 of Van Merksteijn Motorsport.

Last year, Bernhard Ten Brinke shook the Dutch rally scene by claiming the Dutch rally championship in his first year in the sport. A unique achievement by the young driver from Zeddam who abandoned circuit racing halfway through the season and dedicate himself to rallying instead. Only after the summer he started to concentrate on his chances for the title, a battle which lasted through till the last special stage of the season. “It was a move which I have not regretted for a moment. Especially after I became Dutch champion with Van Merksteijn Motorsport and my co-driver of last year, Hans van Goor.”

The second champion in the car of Van Merksteijn Motorsport is local hero Eddy Chevaillier. Eddy is the regular co-driver with Van Merksteijn Motorsport who will as of this year drive together with Ten Brinke in the Focus WRC 08. Besides the work as co-driver for Peter van Merksteijn jnr., Eddy took part in the Belgian championship with Pieter Tsjoen which he won with a large margin.

In preparation for the 2010 season of the new Dutch champion Ten Brinke, the director of Bribus Keukens travelled in January to Norway for a four day course to bring his car control skills to an even higher level. “Especially on loose surfaces there is a lot I can learn and with this course I gained a lot of new knowledge and experience which should help me further.”

The entry of Ten Brinke in the Haspengouw Rally is a test rally for the first event in the Dutch championship. On March 19th and 20th the opening round will be held around Emmeloord, the Tank S Rally. “I will be driving this year with the Focus WRC 08 and with a new co-driver. It is a new combination and the timing of the Haspengouw Rally is ideal to use this event for Eddy and myself to get used to each other. Eddy brings a huge load of experience with him into the car and I am confident that we will have a fantastic year ahead of us.”

Besides a selection of events for the Dutch Rally Open they will also take part in a few rallies included in the World Rally Championship. “Most likely I am not able to take part in all round of the Dutch championship but I want to demonstrate that my achievement from last year was not a coincidence. I want to gain again a lot of experience this year and therefore that we will we will enter in a few WRC events.”

The First time that Ten Brinke will take part in the WRC will be during the Deutschland Rallye around Trier in August. A long rally with 420 stage kilometers and the brand new stage Hermeskeil with a length of 48km. An event which will suit the driving style of Ten Brinke well due to his years of experience on the racing circuits. A second entry in the WRC is planned for this year and the current favorite is the new Rally of France in the Alsace, home to world champion Sebastien Loeb.

The Haspengouw Rally is a compact single day Event around Landen with four different special stages with a total length of 164km. At 8:01 in the morning the first car will start on the podium on industrial estate Roosveld. Around 19:30 the rally will finish again and will we know the result of this test rally for van Merksteijn Motorsport.

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