ERC A FULL 2014
Five former winners at the start
Ypres, 4 June 2014
FIA European Rally Championship 2014 – Round 6
The registrations for the Geko Ypres Rally have not closed as yet, but for the rally fans we can already confirm that there will be some top quality at the start of this 50th edition of the Geko Ypres Rally. No less than 5 drivers of this “Ypres Rally” have clinched victory in the past and this year they will once again be giving it their all on the renowned asphalted surfaces in West-Flanders, where “cutting off” has taken on a new dimension.
The record holder for the number of victories naturally goes to Freddy Loix, who has popped the champagne cork 8 times on the podium in Ypres. Fast Freddy scored his first win back in 1996 at the wheel of a Toyota Celica GT-Four. This was to be the start of a series of four consecutive victories; three with a Toyota and the last with a works team Mitsubishi Carisma GT. Freddy Loix’s second era kicked off in 2008 with a victory at the wheel of the Peugeot 207 Super 2000. This was followed by a further three wins (2010, 2011, 2013) with a Skoda Fabia Super 2000, the car in which he will also be going all out for victory this season in Ypres.
In 2007 Luca Rossetti was the fastest with a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. This top Italian driver will once again be back in Ypres this year, however this time at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia Super 2000. Since his victory Rossetti wants to be present in the Westhoek every year, such as last year when he was Michal Solowow’s coach. The legendary after party might also have something to do with it…
Another former winner is eightfold Belgian rally champion Pieter Tsjoen, who drove his Toyota Corolla WRC to victory in 2001. The East-Flanders businessman never really settled down in a Super 2000, but the switch to a turbo powered Peugeot 208 T16 now makes Tsjoen a candidate to be feared for victory.
The fourth laureate to be at the start is… Jimmy McRae, who in 1987, the year after the Gr.B, clinched victory in the former “24 Hours of Ypres” at the wheel of a Ford Sierra Cosworth. As in previous years Jimmy will once again be at the start of the Ypres Historic Rally, with an Opel Ascona A this time around.
The fifth former winner, Bruno Thiry, has won twice in Ypres and this season he will be the ideal reference for the youngsters in the ERC Junior Championship. Bruno Thiry will participate at the wheel of an Opel Adam R2…
The three R5 makes represented
As has become custom once again this year the Geko Ypres Rally will be going for a record and a revelation. The 50th edition of this West-Flanders classic will be the first direct confrontation between three makes that presently boast a homologated R5. The Ford Fiesta R5, the Peugeot 208 T16 and the Citroën DS3 R5 will be in action on the narrow asphalted special stages around Ypres.
These are exciting weeks ahead for Vincent Verschueren, the twofold Belgian Champion Super 2000, who is eagerly looking forward to competing in his first competition with the Citroën DS3 R5 prepared by GoDrive, Gaby Goudezeune’s team.
The Peugeot camp is represented by the two Peugeot Rally Academy drivers, namely Craig Breen and Kevin Abbring. Following the two consecutive retirements in Ireland and the Azores the Irishman is determined to clinch victory, whilst Kevin Abbring is pretty much on home ground in Ypres and the advantage of knowing the course should be taken into consideration with a view to him grabbing his first win in the ERC. The eightfold Belgian rally champion Pieter Tsjoen will also be at the wheel of a 208 T16, prepared by the Belgian DG Sport team, which is also looking after the 208 R2 of Gino Bux, presently in sixth place in the ERC Junior Championship.
The Ford Fiesta R5 are in the majority, and a close eye needs to be kept on the times recorded by Bernd Casier who is making his comeback in Ypres. J-Motorsport is entering two Fiesta R5 for Cédric Cherain and Didier Duquesne. Xevi Pons will be making his debut in Ypres with Ford’s latest weapon, whilst Philip Cracco will be bringing a Fiesta R5 into contention.
Who will become the Asphalt Master?
As present leader in the European championship Esapekka Lappi will be in Ypres, but he is also leader in the intermediate rankings of the ERC Asphalt Master. This unofficial title rewards the fastest diver on the asphalt stages. Points are awarded per special stage to the five fastest drivers (10-6-4-2-1). After the first day of the Acropolis Rally on asphalt and the Circuit of Ireland Lappi is leading the intermediate rankings with 156 points, with Craig Breen on 105 points. With numerous Belgian top drivers at the start the ERC drivers will need to fight hard to score extra points in Ypres.
Media Geko Ypres Rally ERC 2014
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