In the beginning... | WRC Renties Ypres Rally Belgium 2021

In the beginning...

The Ypres Rally was born out of the Monte-Carlo Rally. In 1963, some friends and car enthusiasts, Johan and Marc Rouseré, Elie Alleweireld, Hubert Saelens, Pierre Hoël, Roland Van Eygen, Firmin Soenen and Gilbert Lempire decided to create the A.C. Targa Florio. The Ypres-Poperinge section of the Automobile Club of Central Flanders met at "Au Relais", near the barracks in Ypres, a business operated by Pierre Hoël.

On 18 January 1964 Ypres was introduced to rallying. On the Grote Markt a stamp control of the Monte-Carlo Rally was organised. Around 19h all traffic lights were turned off, the traffic around the market place was diverted and all public buildings were illuminated to create a unique atmosphere. 130 teams were expected for the stamp check on their route of the "parcours de concentration" on the way to Monaco, more specifically the teams that started in Paris (n° 140 to 220) and in Frankfurt (n° 221 to 238).

Via Arnhem, The Hague and Ostend, they arrived at the Grote Markt in Ypres shortly after 8 p.m. and then continued on their way to Boulogne and the Principality.  It was an unforgettable night for the people of Ypres and the young car enthusiasts of the A.C. Targa Florio,
including a certain Franz Thévelin, because some big names passed by on the Grote Markt, such as F1 legend Graham Hill with his Ford Falcon Sprint Futura (no. 201), but also the brothers Lucien Bianchi (no. 164) with a Citroën DS 19 and Mauro Bianchi (no. 199) with a
Lancia Flavia GT coupe.

On 17 January, another checkpoint of the Monte Carlo Rally was organised, but this time in Roeselare. Meanwhile, the "Relais" comrades were convinced that they had to organise a rally in Ypres themselves. Because the Omloop van Vlaanderen was held in October, they opted for a rally in the spring.


Posted by Jan