Ardeca Ypres Rally Belgium 2022 – Final | WRC Ardeca Ypres Rally Belgium 2022

 

 

 

 

Ardeca Ypres Rally Belgium 2022 – Final

The Tänak surprise

What a rally we experienced again this year in Ypres! Three days of intense competition, suspense, twists and turns, and in the end, a rather unexpected victory for Ott Tänak.  Certainly, the Belgian round ofthe WRC has kept all its promises. An incredible weekend!

As is often the case at the Ardeca Ypres Rally, we did not have to wait long to witness the first crash with Kalle Rovanperä on SS2. We also took our normal big twist at the end with Adrien Fourmaux crashing his Ford on the penultimate stage. Even the experienced drivers fell afoul of the Westhoek roads with Breen on SS10 and Neuville on SS15. That is not even mentioning the countless other moments in the other categories. Undoubtedly, the event that wound its way the ‘City of Cats’ remains terrifically demanding for drivers and machines.

Kalle Rovenperä has dominated since the start of the season and was particularly impressive but he went off the road for the first time this year. It is that in Ypres, a mistake is only very rarely forgiven and he will have learned that lesson the hard way.

In the past, there were few current drivers that have dominated in Ypres and Craig Breen (Ford) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) are such names. However Breen never found the feeling this weekend and went off the road and into a ditch. He came back under SuperRally but never felt satisfied with his run.

Everything had seemed in control for Neuville He was caution and clever, taking command and managing the rally in a Loix-esque way. At least that's what we thought! It was not predicted that he could let himself be "stupidly" surprised in a slow turn. It was an extremely regrettable retirement for the Belgian crew (perhaps the biggest disappointment of his career for Thierry) in front of his home crowd, and for the Korean brand. However, the pace nevertheless proves that it is gradually raising and that is good news. It should also be noted that Neuville tallied the most stage wins of the rally.

Finally, it was important for Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux to achieve a good result here. There was a little moment on Saturday, on the same corner where Breen had his exit, otherwise Frenchman was rather convincing, and even more than his experienced Irish teammate! But now, on Watou, he succumbed to the Flemish roads. He was ill from the morning and was hunting down Oliver Solberg and it ended in disaster. It was a dramatic exit for Fourmaux and quite misfortunate for Malcolm Wilson's team but it could have been worse as Fourmaux avoided a pilon that could have created a lot more damage. But it was a weekend to forget for M-Sport!

In contrast to all these disappointments, we will pinpoint the great performances of  Tänak, Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi (on the podium), Solberg (who achieves his best WRC result and backs up the Hyundai performance), Stéphane Lefebvre (who remains unbeaten in Belgium this year), or Grégoire Munster (despite a big crash a week earlier) , as well as Kalle  Rovanperä's Power Stage result  (where he put in authoritarian performance which was  4.0 seconds faster than Evans run on the first loop despite a much dirtier road)."

A word about the duel in mind. After the withdrawal of Breen and Neuville, the winner could only be "unexpected"... If as always, Tänak had the naughtiness, it was more surprising to feel him manage his race on Sunday; not really in the habits of the guy ... Well taken, he signs here his 2nd consecutive victory (after Finland), his 17th in the WRC. That said, if he could not do anything, Evans (Toyota) does not demerit for all that, only the opposite!

In WRC2, Stéphane Lefebvre took a dominant win and thus continues his victorious Belgian streak. It was a magnificent performance from the DG Sport driver. Also a great weekend for Citroën with Yohan Rossel who took third in class behind Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda). The Norwegian driver put in a great performance against regional experts, an important result for his championship.

In the WRC championship, it will become difficult to prevent Rovanperä from taking his first world crown but do we ever know!

 

No

Name

Distance

Scratch

 

Pilot

Leader

Friday, August 19, 2022 – Step 1

1

Vleteren 1

11.97 km

6'08"2

1

Rovanperä

Rovanperä

2

Westouter – Boeschepe 1

19.60 km

10'07"5

1

Neuville

Evans

3

Mesen – Middelhoek 1

7.99 km

4'23"1

1

Tänak

Evans

4

Langemark 1

8.95 km

4'13"5

1

Evans

Evans

5

Vleteren 2

11.97 km

6'10"8

2

2

Tänak & Neuville

Evans

6

Westouter – Boeschepe 2

19.60 km

10'03"6

3

Neuville

Evans

7

Mesen – Middelhoek 2

7.99 km

4'18"9

4

Neuville

Neuville

8

Langemark 2

8.95 km

4'12"6

5

Neuville

Neuville

Saturday, August 20, 2022 – Step 2

9

Reninge 1

15.00 km

7'48"8

2

Rovanperä

Tänak

10

Dikkebus 1

14.29 km

Neutralized following Breen exit

11

Wijschate 1

15.00 km

7'21"1

6

Neuville

Neuville

12

Hollebeke 1

22.32 km

11'30"9

7

Neuville

Neuville

13

Reninge 2

15.00 km

7'51"1

8

Neuville

Neuville

14

Dikkebus 2

14.29 km

7'38"6

2

Evans

Neuville

15

Wijschate 2

15.00 km

7'19"2

3

Tänak

Tänak

16

Hollebeke 2

22.32 km

11'29'1

4

Tänak

Tänak

Sunday, August 21, 2022 – Step 3

17

Watou 1

12.36 km

6'18"7

3

Evans

Tänak

18

Kemmelberg 1

13.31 km

7'03"2

4

Evans

Tänak

19

Watou 2

12.36 km

6'18"8

5

Tänak

Tänak

20

Kemmelberg 2 / Wolf Power Stage

13.31 km

6'58"4

3

Rovanperä

Tänak

               

 

Racing Facts

Wow 2

  • Fourmaux: exit into a ditch and retires; very bad weekend for Ford...;  stage interrupted for several minutes;
  • Neuville: didn't seem satisfied with the car;
  • Perfect special for Tänak: scratch and additional  gain of 0"5 ahead overall;
  • WRC2: Lefebvre's stage win (his 12th); brings his lead to 22"0.

 

Kemmelberg 2 / Wolf Power Stage

  • Rovanperä (4 hard tyres / without spare wheel): special perfect stage win;
  • Solberg: something broke on this stage; finished 4th, his best WRC ranking.

 

Retirements

Rovanperä: SS2 (crash)

Breen: SS10 (crash)

Neuville: SS15 (crash)

Fourmaux: SS19 (crash)

 

Stage winners

Neuville: 8; Tänak: 5.; Rovanperä: 3. ; Evans: 2.

 

Leaders

SS1: Rovanperä; SS2-6: Evans; SS7 & 14: Neuville;  SS 15 & 20: Tänak.

Posted by LauraLietaert