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50TH YPRES RALLY: ŠKODA DRIVERS LOOKING FORWARS TO ANNIVERSARY IN BELGIUM

ERC A FULL 2014

50th Ypres Rally: ŠKODA drivers looking forward to anniversary in Belgium

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› Lappi/Ferm and Wiegand/Christian line up in the ERC in Belgium
› Lappi leads the European Championship going into the race
› ŠKODA has won the last four editions of the iconic rally

​Mladá Boleslav, 17 June 2014 – The Ypres Rally is taking place for the 50th time – and the ŠKODA drivers have their sights set on playing a major role at the anniversary event. After the one-two at the Circuit of Ireland Rally, Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) and the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team of Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (D/D) now move on to their next challenge. The sixth round of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) takes place in Belgium from 19 to 21 June.

​“The Ypres Rally is new territory for me, but so was the Circuit of Ireland Rally. I hope things work out just as well this time too. One thing is certain: you have to be alert at all times on the slippery asphalt,” said Lappi. The Finn dominated in Northern Ireland on his way to victory number two of the season, having previously won in Latvia. These two wins, plus a fourth place in Greece, have taken Lappi to the top of the overall standings in the ERC with 98 points. Despite this, the 23-year-old warns against writing off the strong opposition.

“Victories from Freddy Loix and Juno Hänninen in recent years have shown that the Fabia Super 2000 can be successful in Belgium. However, this is definitely not a forgone conclusion, as our opposition is also very strong and will be going all out to end ŠKODA’s winning run,” said the Finn. ŠKODA drivers have emerged triumphant from the iconic Ypres Rally for the last four years in a row. With this in mind, the manufacturer from Mladá Boleslav is obviously looking to mix it with the front-runners again at this year’s anniversary rally.

And fellow ŠKODA driver Wiegand is also keen to get in on the act, having produced an impressive fightback to finish an excellent second at the Circuit of Ireland Rally. “Claiming my first podium in the ERC is a weight off my shoulders. I obviously want to back that performance up in Belgium, although it is new terrain for me. The pace notes, which I will write together with my co-driver ahead of the rally, must be one hundred per cent right,” said the 23-year-old ŠKODA driver. With 48 points to his name, Wiegand currently lies fourth in the ERC standings.

Also lining up for the ŠKODA motorsport family: last year’s winner Freddy Loix (B) – this time in a privately run ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. The 42-year-old rally legend from Belgium is a force to be reckoned with at his home rally: Loix won at the wheel of a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Loix is joined at the start by Neil Simpson (GB), another experienced driver in the 270-hp four-wheel drive car from Mladá Boleslav. The 41-year-old authorised ŠKODA dealer from Clitheroe in Lancashire has returned to professional rallying this season after a break of twelve years. Simpson finished fifth at the Circuit of Ireland Rally in a Fabia Super 2000. Good omen: Simpson’s first appearance in Ypres will be at the wheel of the very same car Loix triumphed in last year.

The Ypres Rally begins on Thursday evening with the 4.88-kilometre qualifying stage. This is followed by 20 special stages, consisting of 298.79 kilometres against the clock on slippery, narrow asphalt roads. This makes the anniversary edition of the Ypres Rally the longest on this year’s ERC calendar.

Did you know that …

… the Ypres Rally was held for the first time in 1965? Back then it was known as the “Eerste Interstallen Criterium”. Since then, the iconic event has established itself as one of the best-known rallies on the continent. This year it forms part of the FIA European Rally Championship, having previously featured in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).

… the Ypres Rally is celebrating its 50th anniversary? As such, this year’s rally will be accompanied by an exhibition, which features unique exhibits from the rally’s early years to the present.

… the Ypres Rally has always been a stomping ground for the very best drivers? In 1976, for example, Walter Röhrl’s (D) name went down in the list of winners. Over the years, the big names who have lined up at the rally include World Champions Juha Kankkunen (FIN), Colin McRae (GB), Didier Auriol (F) and current FIA President Jean Todt (F).

… the man with the most wins to his name at the Ypres Rally is Freddy Loix? The Belgian with the nickname “Fast Freddy” triumphed eight times between 1996 and 2013, including three victories at the wheel of the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

… the iconic rally is new territory for both ERC championship leader Esapekka Lappi and ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver Sepp Wiegand? The German was in action in the 2012 IRC, but did not compete in Belgium.

… the longest stage on the Ypres Rally is “Hollebeke”? It is 28.82 kilometres long and will be tackled twice on Saturday.

… ŠKODA is growing in popularity in Belgium? 1,900 cars were delivered to customers in April 2014 alone. That is a rise of 28.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The number for the Ypres Rally: 4

The last four editions of the Ypres Rally have been won by a driver in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. Belgian rally legend Freddy Loix triumphed in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In 2012 it was Juho Hänninen (FIN) who was victorious in the fast and reliable four-wheel drive car from Mladá Boleslav.

FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), overall standings drivers’ championship after 5 of 11 events:

1. Esapekka Lappi, 98 points; 2. Craig Breen, 69; 3. Vasily Gryazin, 53; 4. Sepp Wiegand, 48; 5. Kajetan Kajetanowicz, 48; 6. Robert Kubica, 39; 7. Bernardo Sousa, 37; 8. Robert Cosani, 37; 9. Bryan Bouffier, 31; 10. Kevin Abbring, 31.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karel Pokorny
Media Skoda Motorsport

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Photos:Tomáš Brčko Brázdil www.foto-brcko.cz by Rally Report Magazine Argentina and Skoda Motorsport https://www.facebook.com/motorsportskoda

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