Mats van den Brand Surprises

The Las Vegas Ypres Historic Rally, for cars with a FIA homologation, ran the Langemark test twice on Friday night, with the final stage in Dikkebus.

 
One of the favourites, Stefaan Stouf, feared for his rally after he felt the turbo pressure was falling after just a few kilometers. As a result he lost about 50 seconds. He could not  pull the Ford Sierra Cosworth to the side immediately but fortunately the damage was not as bad as feared and he continued on. He succeeded in achieving two more stage wins, and was particularly impressive on the Dikkebus test. He was no less than 18 seconds faster than Mats Van den Brand. Despite the fact that the young Dutchman did not have any knowledge of the stages, he took a hold of first place. That ensured the BMW M3 is in charge after the first day, with 4.8 seconds ahead of Paul Lietaer (Opel Manta 400) and 23.9 seconds on Stouf.

Harri Toivonen, brother of former Ypres winner Henri, was able to stay with the Sierra Cosworth, keeping the gap just under the minute. Then comes a small platoon BMWs, with in order Guino Kenis, Tom Van Rompuy, Valter Jensen and Danny Kerckhof. Anders Johnsen (Porsche) and Steve Perez (Lancia Stratos) conclude the top-10. It is noteworthy that there is a large number of foreigners in the top-10 - a place that used to be a Belgian / Flemish occupation. Didier Vanwijnsberghe, also tipped as a favourite, did not appear happy with the Toyota Celica and is in a 12th place.

In the Sas Pils Classic Ypresrally, Christophe Merlevede showed his intentions by winning the Langemark stage - the only one that these drivers ran on Friday. The driver from Poperinge was able to compete for almost 15 seconds ahead of surprising Bram Fonteyne and his Volvo 240. For, Frederic Chambon, he was happy with the third place, at 18.1 seconds behind, but fears for the reliability of his Porsche. Tim Pearcey and Dirk Deveux, both in Ford Escorts, are close in top-5. Surprisingly, Bart Ruyssen in the VW Golf is running well in 7th place.

For Alain Vermeulen, he saw his leading role go up in smoke due to technical problems with the BMW. He lost 7 minutes when on Langemark.

Posted by hugo