- January 29, 1958
- Belgian Rally Championship
Patrick Snijers is a rally veteran from Belgium who won seven Belgian national rally titles early in a career, between 1983 and 1994. Outside Belgium, he was a Dutch rally champion in 1992 and a European rally champion in 1994.
Snijers was active in international competitions until 2016 when he recorded his last participation in the European Rally Championship. In the World Rally Championship, he participated last time in 1998, driving a Ford Escort WRC for Bastos Ford Rally Team. In total, he recorded just eight WRC starts but scored one podium, finishing second at 1993 Rallye Sanremo.
Driving Toyota, Opel, Ford and BMW early in a career
Born in January 1958, Snijers started his rally career in 1976 at the wheel of Toyota Corolla. In 1978, he switched to Opel Kadett GT/E and then Ford Escort RS 1800 MkII in 1979. That year he recorded his WRC debut, driving a Ford Escort RS 2000 at Lombard RAC Rally and finishing 36th overall.
Snijers was combining Ford and Opel until 1981, then switching to BMW 323i in 1982. That year, he finished first in Class 2 of the Belgian championship.
Two championship titles in a Porsche, one title with Lancia
In 1983, Snijers captured his first national rally title at the wheel of Porsche 911 SC, sharing a car with Dany Colebunders as his navigator. They were rally winners four times. Next year, Snijers defended Belgian rally title in a Group B-spec Porsche 911 SC, recording five rally wins.
In 1985, Snijers won the third championship title in a row. This time, he was driving Group B Lancia 037 Rally, winning six national rally events. Outside Belgium, he won Rallye du Valais, a part of the European Rally Championship. In 1986, Snijers spent one more season in a Lancia 037 Rally, finishing third in the Belgian championship and second in the European championship, losing a title to Fabrizio Tabaton.
Fourth title with BMW M3
The Group B era ended in 1986 and Snijers switched to Group A Lancia Delta HF 4WD for the 1987 season. He was again third in the national championship and second in the European championship, behind Dario Cerrato.
In 1988, Snijers switched to BMW M3, winning his fourth title in the Belgian championship. In the European Rally Championship, he was a vice-champion for the third year in a row. He was a rally winner four times in a Bastos BMW M3, losing a title to Fabrizio Tabaton.
Returning to WRC in a Toyota Celica GT-4
In 1989, Snijers was driving Toyota Celica GT-4 for Bastos Toyota Team in the national championship, European championship but also in the World Rally Championship. He returned to WRC after ten years, participating in four events. He was sixth at Rallye Monte-Carlo and sixth at Rallye Sanremo, not finishing at Tour de Corse and Acropolis Rally.
Snijers spent one more season in a Toyota Celica GT-4, scoring two wins in Belgian events to finish sixth in the championship.
Two championship titles with Ford Sierra RS Cosworth
In 1991, Snijers captured his fifth national rally title. He was driving a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4, sharing a car with navigator Dany Colebunders. They also finished third in the European Rally Championship.
In 1992, Snijers and Colebunders stayed in a Ford Sierra, winning the Dutch rally championship.In Belgium, they finished in the fifth place.
Three titles and WRC podium with Ford Escort RS Cosworth
In 1993, Snijers switched to Ford Escort RS Cosworth to win his sixth national rally title. He also finished second in the European Rally Championship and scored his biggest success in the World Rally Championship, scoring a podium at Rallye Sanremo. He finished in the second place behind Franco Cunico in another Ford Escort.
In 1994, Snijers finally won European Rally Championship after winning five events with Bastos-sponsored Ford Escort RS Cosworth. He was also a champion in the Belgian championship, for the seventh and the last time in a career.
Two more WRC starts in a Ford Escort WRC
Snijers stayed in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth for two more seasons, finishing second in the Belgian championship in 1996. In 1997, a new Ford Escort WRC came and Snijers triumphed in two ERC events that year.
In 1998, he recorded his last two WRC attempts, driving a Ford Escort WRC at Rally Catalunya and Rally Sanremo. He retired at both events.
Variety of rally cars in the new millennium
In 1999, Snijers participated in different competitions with five different rally cars (Subaru Impreza 555, Subaru Impreza S4 WRC, Ford Escort WRC, Ford Escort RS Cosworth and Toyota Corolla WRC). In a new millennium, he continued to change cars frequently, adding Peugeot 206 WRC, Subaru Impreza S5 WRC and Toyota Celica GT-Four on his list.
In 2003, he finished second in the Belgian championship with different variants of Subaru Impreza WRC. In 2004, he was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII and then Porsche 996 GT3 in 2005. In 2006, Snijers also competed in a BMW M3 E36.
Patrick is still very active, despite his age
In 2008, he finished third in the national championship with Porsche 996 GT3. Driving a Subaru Impreza S12 WRC, he was fourth in the national championship in 2009 and third in 2010. In 2011, he was combining Škoda Octavia WRC and Mini JCW WRC.
In 2012, he was a Belgian vice-champion with Mini JCW WRC. Snijers then spent two seasons in a BMW 130i, using a car in 2013 and 2014 in national events. In 2015, Snijers raced with Porsche 997 GT3. He recorded his last start in the European Rally Championship in 2016, driving a Peugeot 208 T16 at Ypres Rally.
Since then, he raced the most with Porsche in Belgian rally events, but also with some R5-spec cars (Škoda Fabia, VW Polo). Despite his age, he is still very active, recording ten starts in 2019.