Freddy Loix and his Kronos prepared peugeot 207 S2000 have dominated the Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally from beginning to end. On Friday evening already Fast Freddy made the difference by setting 5 fastest times. Only the last stage of Langemark escaped him as he was slowed down by the crash of Jan Kopecky. On Saturday, Freddy continued his push until he lost his last rival Nicolas Vouilloz. Vouilloz spun in Westouter and lost about a minute. From that moment, Freddy loix and his codriver Robin Buysmans were counting down. They finished with a 58"7 lead in Ypres. Loix now holds the new record for the number of victories in the Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally after also wiining in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
We were prefectly prepared. From the start, we went flat out as I knew Vouilloz and Rossetti ld lose time in the first legs due to a lack of experience here. We managed to control our lead throughout the weekend. Especially in the long and fast corners, I could make the difference. On Saturday morning, we lost some time as I did not have 5-th gear but otherwise, this was the perfect race. For once we did not encounter bad luck in the IRC! ," tells a happy Freddy Loix.
The fight for second place was really close but Loix' team-mate Nicolas Vouilloz managed to come out on top. Third place went to Luca Rossetti still who nearly lost all hopes after starting in 11-th position this morning. It is the first time the man of Italy misses out on the victory in the IRC but he was still very happy, especially as he stays in the lead in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Bernd Casier got fourth spot bringing his VW Polo Super 2000 home in just behind the three Peugeots. Casier drove an excellent race but was hampered by the lower top speed of the Polo. Patrick Snijers did not dissappoint the jury of the BF Goodrich team when they selected him as their driver for ypres. He finished 5-th in his first ever race in a Super 2000. It was his 30-th time he raced here in the Westhoek.
Giandomenico Basso came home sixth and first amongst the Abarth drivers. At the last minute, basso lost out on the fifth spot by clocking in one minute too early. His team-mates did not play any role of importance: Alèn came in in 12-th position after suffering a puncture that cost him 4 minutes. Travaglia rolled his car and Sola broke his suspension after an accident with Van den Heuvel. Peugeot also had some unlucky drivers: Tirabassi and Toth both broke their suspension and Kopecky rolled his car.
The first ?conventional' group N was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 of the Dutchman Jasper Van den Heuvel who drove a faultless race and finished 7-th. Dominique Bruyneel followed at 1'35" with his Subaru Impreza WRX N14. In Heuvelland he pulled all the stops for a last ime and caught Paul Lietaer on his own birthday... Raphaël Auquier managed to slot the second Polo Super 2000 just within the Top 10. Melissa Debackere was of course the first woman in the final standing.
Kris Princen had been dominating the two wheel drive category but unfortunately broke his engine. So it was Aaron Burkart and his Citroën C2 Super 1600 who won the category on his first outing here in Ypres, just in front of Gilles Schammel and the Renault Clio R3. The two wheel drive cup of the IRC was won by Dieter Verbeke (Peugeot 106) ahead of Patrick Vandeputte (Honda).