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Ypres Rally - 18-20 Jun 09

Posted: June 24, 2009 2:04 PM - 13114 Hits

Round 5 - 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

  • Meeke/Nagle win in Ypres!

More Photos

Posted: June 24, 2009 2:04 PM

Video Clips

Posted: June 23, 2009 4:58 PM

Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle win the Belgium Ypres Rally

Posted: June 23, 2009 4:45 PM

Having already won the last two gravel rallies, Peugeot UK's 207 S2000 driven by Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle has won this weekends Belgium Ypres rally.

Unlike the dreadful conditions the team had to face in the Azores the weather in Belgium was a lot better. However, it was not all plain sailing for the Peugeot UK team as during the shakedown, Kris got slightly off line and ripped the right-hand rear wheel off the car.

The Kronos based Peugeot UK technicians then had to rebuild the rear of the car before Kris went out and set the second fastest time in the shakedown.

Friday saw the start of the rally which Kris opened in great style setting the fastest time in the first special stage. He then traded fastest times with Peugeot Belgium's, and rally favourite Freddy Loix, to finish the first day in second place just 4.9 seconds behind.

Day two, Saturday saw Kris again set the fastest time in the opening stage and reduce Freddy Loix's lead to just 2 seconds. Then Freddy and Kris traded fastest stage times until on stage 10 Kris beat Freddy by 2.1 seconds to reduce his lead to just 2 tenth of a second. By stage 12 Kris was leading the rally with Freddy eight tenth of a second behind. Freddy then pushed as hard as he could in the next stage but having to push his car to the limit resulted in him picking up a puncture and losing nearly 2 minutes. Kris was now leading the rally by 21.5 seconds from Jan Kopecky in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

Freddy tried to fight back but Kris's lead was too much even for the Belgium Ypres specialist and at the end of the final stage Kris won the rally by 20.4 seconds from Jan Kopecky (Skoda Fabia S2000) and Freddy finished in third in his Peugeot 207 S2000.

Kris Meeke now leads the driver's championship by 6 points from Freddy Loix in second place and Peugeot continue to dominate the manufacturer's championship with 68 points to Mitsubishi's 35.


Posted: June 23, 2009 2:29 PM

Peugeot UK driver Kris Meeke has won his third consecutive IRC event by claiming victory on his first participation in the Belgium Ypres Rally, round five of the IRC series. The momentous win has promoted Meeke to a six-point lead in the standings over Peugeot Belgium driver Freddy Loix: the winner of the Belgium Ypres Rally last year.

Meeke and Loix were involved in a battle for the lead from the very beginning of the rally, trading fastest stage times. Over the course of the 16-stage event, Meeke won eight stages while Loix won seven. Meeke edged ahead after SS12, but Loix - a five-time winner of the Belgium Ypres Rally - claimed to have more speed in reserve. His challenge evaporated on the following stage though, when the Belgian picked up a puncture that dropped him to fourth place. He refused to give up and eventually finished third, maintaining second place in the championship.

The only other person to challenge the two leaders was Skoda driver Jan Kopecky, who was in the top three from the very first day. The only problem that the Czech encountered was a motorcyclist who rode into him on a road section before SS10, but fortunately there were no serious consequences. Following Loix's puncture Kopecky moved up into second place, where he remained to the finish in order to graduate to third place overall in the championship standings.

Kopecky's team mate Juho Hanninen was third up until the final stage, where he too punctured a tyre and dropped down to fifth. Nonetheless, the popular Finn scores his first points of the year. Hanninen's misfortune benefitted local driver Pieter Tsjoen, who claimed fourth at the finish in a privately-run Peugeot 207 S2000.
The battle for sixth resulted in one of the closest finishes in the history of the IRC. Luxembourg driver Gilles Schammel, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000, finished just 0.1 seconds ahead of Dutchman Jasper van den Heuvel, at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer.

The final point was claimed by Abarth's Giandomenico Basso, who lost fourth place on the very final stage after picking up a puncture on the same rock that caused a problem for Hanninen. Basso's Abarth team mate Bernd Casier eventually finished 13th after being delayed by a gearbox problem and punctures: a constant risk on the challenging Belgian asphalt.

This notoriously tricky event, which is renowned in the world of international rallying, claimed some high-profile victims: most notably Francois Duval, making a guest appearance in a privateer Skoda Fabia S2000. The Belgian's rally lasted just a few hundred metres before he skated off the road on SS1. Nicolas Vouilloz, the reigning IRC champion, also endured a difficult opening stage on Thursday: he went wide on a corner and heavily damaged the front of his Peugeot 207 S2000. The Frenchman was attempting to make his way back up the leaderboard on the second day when he got stuck behind the similar car of Michal Solowow, which had been slowed by a puncture, and went off whilst trying to get past it.

The IRC 2WD Cup was won by Dutchman Marcel Piepers, driving a Honda Civic Type R. Piepers stamped his authority over the event, but second place for Frenchman Denis Millet was enough to give the Frenchman the joint lead of the IRC 2WD Cup standings. Another Honda, driven by Martijn Braat, was third – usefully boosting the Japanese manufacturer's haul in the IRC 2WD Cup constructors' standings.


Posted: June 23, 2009 2:02 PM


Posted: June 23, 2009 2:01 PM

1 Meeke / Nagle Peugeot 207 S2000 2hrs 32m 16.3s
2 Kopecky / Stary Skoda Fabia S2000 +20.4s
3 Loix / Smeets Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m40.5s
4 Tsjoen / Chevaillier Peugeot 207 S2000 +2m35.3s
5 Hanninen / Markkula Skoda Fabia S2000 +3m35.1s
6 Schammel / Jamoul Peugeot 207 S2000 +4m06.4s
7 Van den Heuvel / Kolman Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 +4m06.5s
8 Basso / Dotta Abarth Grande Punto S2000 +4m 24.9s
9 Betti/ Capolongo Peugeot 207 S2000 +5m48.3s
10 Fontana/Cassina Peugeot 207 S2000 +6m24.5s

IRC Preview

Posted: June 17, 2009 1:46 PM

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge returns to mainland Europe for round five of this year's series, the Belgium Ypres Rally from June 18-20. The asphalt surface and the tricky conditions of Belgium make for a technically challenging event which is likely to be played out in unpredictable weather, when scorching sunshine can turn to heavy rain in the blink of an eye.

The stages on the Belgium Ypres Rally tend to be straight and narrow farm tracks, with several obstacles to catch out the unwary. The long straights tend to be followed by sharp 90-degree corners, making it extremely difficult to judge the correct braking points. There is also often a lot of loose gravel on the corners, meaning that the cars struggle to find traction. These are far from the only hazards crews will have to cope with: the rapid stages are frequently lined with deep drainage ditches - often filled with water - and there are trees, walls and telegraph poles close to the side of the road.

Participation of the seven IRC-registered manufacturers

Belgium is one of the most enthusiastic and proactive motor sport nations on earth so the event is sure to bring out enormous crowds throughout the event, many of whom will be cheering for local hero Freddy Loix and his new co-driver Frederic Miclotte. The Belgian duo currently lies second in the IRC standings, just two points off the lead. A full capacity entry is expected to start this year's event, with the IRC front-runners being joined by a host of local and regional talent.

For the first time this year, all seven IRC-registered manufacturers are expected to take the start, raising the profile of this well-known rally even higher. More than 20 Super 2000 cars will begin the event this year: another significant record for the IRC.

The Belgium Ypres Rally is one of the most historic and important events in Europe. The event is based in the historic town of Ypres, rebuilt brick-for-brick to its medieval splendour after its destruction in World War I. The magnificent town square, with the town hall and museum dominating the landscape, acts as the central service area for the rally and contains the start-finish ramp. This year will mark the 45th running of the Belgium Ypres Rally, which has been contested in the past by some of the greatest stars of the sport.

Peugeot UK enters the current championship leader Kris Meeke, the young British star who has taken back-to-back victories on gravel in Brazil and the Azores to stand two points clear of Loix in the standings. Defending champion, Frenchman Nicolas Vouilloz, lies third in the second Kronos-prepared Benelux Peugeot entry, just one point behind his teammate Loix: the winner in Ypres last year.

A total of eight Peugeot 207 S2000s head the entry, joined by a Skoda Fabia S2000 for another great hero of Belgian rallying, Francois Duval, and a Volkswagen Polo S2000 for legendary Belgian rally ace, 51-year-old Patrick Snijers. Abarth has also been strong in Belgium in the past, and the factory Italian team is hoping for more success this year with former European Champion Giandomenico Basso and Belgian asphalt ace Bernd Casier, who has been brought in to replace Anton Alen for this event. Skoda's factory team will field Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky as usual.

Proton will be represented on the IRC for the first time, with an entry for rising British star Guy Wilks, while another star of the future, Thierry Neuville, has won the BFGoodrich Drivers' Team entry for Ypres. Pieter Tsjoen has also been recently confirmed for his home event in a Peugeot 207 S2000.

They are joined by a host of entrants for the 2WD class in both Super 1600 and Group R machines, and as ever huge numbers of Group N 'showroom' specification Mitsubishi Lancers, such as the car driven by Austria's Franz Wittmann, which will doubtless bring further four-wheel drive spectacle to the event.

Eurosport will broadcast four hours of live action from the stages

To mark the importance of the Belgium Ypres Rally, and to ensure that everyone in the area gets the most from the event, stage organisers Superstage have developed a new signposting system which will allow fans and casual visitors alike the chance to easily find their way to some of the most spectacular action.

At Ypres, the fans come first. Not only that, but Eurosport will broadcast four hours of live action from the stages, enabling television viewers all over the world to fully experience the unique atmosphere of the Belgium Ypres Rally.

Video Clips (Including in-Car) from Duval Pre Ypres Test

Posted: June 16, 2009 7:52 PM

Belgium tarmac is the next challenge for Peugeot UK and IRC Challenge leaders Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle

Posted: June 16, 2009 1:03 PM

Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle will have to master the challenging tarmac stages of Belgium, for the next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), between the 19- 20th June.

Having won the last two rounds of the IRC, Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke now leads the overall drivers' standing by two points from Belgium tarmac specialist and team mate, Freddy Loix. The tarmac stages of the Belgium Ypres Rally will, however, be very different from the gravel rallies of Brazil and the Azores that the Peugeot UK duo won so convincingly.

The Belgium Ypres rally will also see the largest number of S2000 cars line up for the start of what is going to be a fascinating rally. A total of five different manufacturers will be represented: Abarth, Peugeot, Skoda, VW and new boys Proton with the Proton Satria Neo S2000 driven by British driver Guy Wilks.

The rally starts on Friday 19th and will see the competitors completing sixteen special stages with a total distance of 284.76 km over the two day event.

Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel - Difficult challenge at Ypres Rally

Posted: June 15, 2009 11:12 AM

The “Ypres Rally” in Belgium from June 18 to 19, 2009 as part of the “International Rally Challenge (IRC)”, will pose the most difficult challenge so far in this season for Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The two Austrians who had already impressed with an immaculate performace until their retirement at their debut in Monte Carlo on snow, even improved at the “SATA Azores Rally” on gravel and reached an excellent sixth overall place. This also meant the first points scored, both for the driver and the manufacturer.

But new cards will be dealt at the Ypres Rally in Belgium. There won’t be snow nor gravel where the drivers prowess is much more asked for – but merely tarmac stages where horse power prominently comes into play. No less than 20 decisively more powerful cars named S 2000 will be competing in addition to three Mitsubishi Evo X, which also possess considerably more horse power than the Evo IX of Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel.

“I am, of course, aware of this. We knew all that when we entered for Belgium. There the stages consist mostly of long straights followed by short turns, which means clear-cut HP-courses. But my goal this year is to simply gather experience there and to get to know the stages in order fo be best prepared for next year. I still and obviously will give my all – but our priority in this case will be to cross the finishing line. If it should actually turn out to be a top 15 result in the end in the overall outcome one would have to be highly satisfied given the superior competition“, declared Wittmann prior to his departure for Belgium.


Posted: June 13, 2009 10:39 PM

Pieter Tsjoen will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on the Belgium Ypres Rally on June 18-20. A Belgian native, Tsjoen will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 for the Kronos Racing squad, bringing the total number of cars being entered by the Namur-based team to five.

Now 35, Tsjoen hasn't competed in the IRC since retiring from the Ypres Rally in 2007 When he was at the wheel of an Abarth Grande Punto: A result which culminated in him briefly quitting the sport and handing over his drive to countryman Freddy Loix for the remaining of that season.

He prepared for his IRC comeback by testing in Belgium on June 10, where he familiarised himself with his new car. He also practiced wheel changes alongside co-driver Eddy Chevaillier in the unfortunate event of his Peugeot suffering a puncture during the asphalt rally.

Marc van Dalen, the joint team principal of Kronos Racing, said: "Pieter is a good guy with a lot of experience. The road he tested on wasn't completely representative of the stages he on the Ypres Rally but that won't be a problem for him. His car will be the same as all the others and I think he can do a good job."

Video Clips of Duval (Skoda) and Duez (Porsche) Pre Ypres Tests

Posted: June 11, 2009 10:54 PM

Seeded Entry List

Posted: June 10, 2009 8:18 PM

Video Clips from Meeke and Loix Pre Ypres Test

Posted: June 10, 2009 8:11 PM

Entry List for Historic Rally Available

Posted: June 9, 2009 5:34 PM

Historic Rally Entry List & Details:


Posted: June 7, 2009 6:03 PM

Proton will make its debut in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge later this month when Guy Wilks contests the Belgium Ypres Rally in the Malaysian company's Satria Neo Super 2000. This means that for the first time in the history of the series, all seven IRC-registered manufacturers will be represented on one event.

Although Wilks, from Great Britain, is a Belgium Ypres Rally novice, he has driven the Proton in competition before, leading the British championship Pirelli Rally in April, until he was forced out when a freak fire destroyed his car.

His inclusion on the Belgium Ypres Rally entry list brings the total number of Super 2000 cars contesting the asphalt event to 20: another record for the IRC.

"I've made no secret of my desire to enter the IRC with Proton so it's great it's finally happening," said the 28-year-old Wilks.

Wilks was a frontrunner in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship with the factory Suzuki team before making his debut in a Ford Focus World Rally Car on Rally Norway in February 2007. Since then he has claimed the British title twice and made his IRC debut in a Honda Civic Type-R on Rally Russia last season.  


Posted: June 7, 2009 6:02 PM

Thierry Neuville has been chosen to represent the BFGoodrich Drivers' Team on the Belgium Ypres Rally. The Belgian event is the second round of the scheme this year, which gives promising local drivers the chance to compete in their home round of the IRC with a top level car.

Neuville, who will turn 21 in the week leading up to the asphalt event, was chosen by a 19-strong panel, which was made up of Belgian journalists and representatives of BFGoodrich, Kronos Racing and the Belgian governing body, the RACB.

He will drive a Kronos-prepared Peugeot 207 Super 2000 after receiving eight votes to the six handed to Melissa De Backere.

Prior to the Belgium Ypres Rally on June 18-20, Neuville will get the opportunity to familiarise himself with the Peugeot 207 during a specially arranged test session in Belgium on June 10.


Posted: June 7, 2009 6:01 PM

Switzerland will get its first regular representative in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge when Brian Lavio contests the Belgium Ypres Rally next month.

The 25-year-old has registered for the FIA European Rally Championship, which runs alongside the IRC on selected events. In addition to Ypres, Lavio's programme will include Barum Rally Zlin in Czech Republic in August and Rally Principe de Asturias in Spain in September.

Lavio said: "We are very happy for this opportunity. For us it will be the first time we have competed in such an important championship. For sure our goal is not fight for the victory but increase our pace and gain more experience."

Lavio will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, run by the Italian Balbosca operation, alongside co-driver Luca Parodi. They began their campaign on the European championship Croatia Delta Rally, which started in Zagreb on Thursday evening (May 28).

Their final event of the season is the Rallye International du Valais in Switzerland from October 29-31. Although the event is not a round of the IRC it qualifies for IRC Supporter Event status.


Posted: June 7, 2009 6:00 PM

Bernd Casier will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on June 18-20 when he replaces Anton Alen in the works Abarth team on the Belgium Ypres Rally.

Casier, who has appeared on selected rounds of the series in a Volkswagen Polo Super 2000 in the past, will make a one-off appearance for the Italian team at the wheel of a Grande Punto S2000.

Abarth management selected Casier to partner Giandomenico Basso in the factory squad because the specialised nature of the event favours drivers with extensive asphaltexperience, something Alen currently lacks. However, the highly-rated Finn will return to Abarth for next month's Rally Russia, which he won in 2007.

Casier, 29, has links with Abarth going back to 2004 when he won the Super 1600 section of the Belgian championship in 2004 in a Fiat Punto Abarth. Fellow Belgian Francis Caesemaeker will co-drive Casier.

Abarth is currently third in the manufacturers' standings after four rounds. Basso, who is fifth in the drivers' table, won the Belgium Ypres Rally in 2006.  


Škoda works cars to appear in Ypres

Posted: June 7, 2009 5:28 PM

After the successful premiere at the Monte Carlo Rally in January and the second-place finish at the Azores Rally in May, the Mladá Boleslav-based team Škoda Motorsport has announced that it will appear at the next IRC event, the Ypres Rally in Belgium (18 – 20 June), with its works drivers Juho Hanninen & Jan Kopecky. The highly competitive start list promises a top-class rally where every second may decide the outcome.

Commenting upon its team's upcoming appearance at the Ypres Rally, Head of Škoda Motorsport Michal Hrabánek says: “Initially, we were planning to appear again after the Azores rally as late as at the rally in Russia, but we changed our mind - because the rally in Belgium is one of the most important events in the IRC calendar, with many top-class drivers on the start line and an excellent setting. Another reason is, that our Motorsport project involves competitions and, equally importantly, a Fabia Super 2000 customer sales programme. So we have decided to compete in Belgium, with the future prospects of our project in mind. One of the key drivers behind this decision was the excellent cooperation we have with our Škoda importer in Belgium, who is supporting the appearance of Francois Duval, a Belgian star driving a Fabia Super 2000 for René Georges' team. Last but not least, the event is going to be another premiere for the Fabia Super 2000, as this will be the vehicle's first exclusively tarmac competition.“

“Launched in the first half of this year, Škoda Motosport's customer programme seems to be equally positive as the results of the factory team,” adds Hrabánek.

The first private customer was Raimund Baumchlager's BRR team, which was also involved in last year's Fabia Super 2000 prototype testing. BRR takes part in the PWRC series, using a private Fabia Super 2000 driven by Swede Patrick Sandell who has had a great season so far winning the PWRC in Norway and Cyprus and coming second in Sardinia. Supported by Škoda's Austrian importer in another series, Raimund Baumschlager is competing in a Fabia Super 2000 in the Austrian Championship, dominating the series after the first two events with one win and one third place.

The Fabia Super 2000 has already “scored” also in Italy, a country where motorsport is very popular. Owning two Fabia Super 2000 vehicles, the A-Style/MRT team takes part mainly in the Italian Championship, with one runner-up position (Gamba) and one third place (Travaglia) so far. Furthermore, Škoda Motorsport will soon sell one vehicle to ŠkodaRally Team Italia (a team supported by the local importer).

“We are preparing more vehicles to be sold in other countries where we are at various negotiation stages with the respective potential buyers. The demand is now greater than the project's capacity to deliver. Nonetheless, we still want to satisfy as many as 15 customers this year. We are pleased with the number of enquiries we have received from potential customers - the current demand indeed shows that our strategy of supporting our factory team as well as private teams is correct,” says Michal Hrabánek

Four hours of live coverage from the stages

Posted: June 2, 2009 9:29 AM

EUROSPORT EVENTS, the promoter of the INTERCONTINENTAL RALLY CHALLENGE, is delighted to announce unprecedented live television production from the 45th Belgium Ypres Rally, which forms round five of this year's IRC series from June 18-20.

Four of the stages will be broadcast live, giving viewers the opportunity to see more than four hours of live action from the all-asphalt stages. This includes special live coverage of two stages on Friday 19 June, while two further stages will be shown during the day and the evening on Saturday 20 June, including the classic Heuvelland stage, which forms the last stage of the event and so marks the climax of the rally on its final night.

This unmatched live action will enable rally fans to see all the action directly as it happens thanks to unique international media coverage, including live extensive broadcasts on Eurosport's channels (Eurosport, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia-Pacific), complemented by coverage on EurosportNews and on the eurosport.com websites.

Géraldine Filiol, Managing Director of IRC promoter Eurosport Events, said: "After our successful ground-breaking coverage of the Monte-Carlo Rally, it was our commitment to continue offering more live coverage on selected IRC events. With its popular central service area located in the historic heart of the town, its fast and demanding stages and its iconic history, the Belgium Ypres Rally has all the ingredients to guarantee some great live shows on TV."

"In addition to this, the full entry list sees the seven IRC-registered manufacturers competing together for the first time, with more than 20 S2000 cars and numerous candidates for victory. The event promises breathtakingly close competition for all the spectators, whether watching the action in person or on TV."

Broadcast Plan for 2009 Belgium Ypres Rally (Irish Time)

* Friday 19 June
18:15-19:15 : LIVE Stage 3 / Lille-Eurométropole1 (9,78 km) - Eurosport
22:00-23:00 : LIVE Stage 6 / Lille-Eurométropole2 (9,78 km) - Eurosport

* Saturday 20 June
15:00-16:00 : LIVE Stage 11 / Heuvelland1 (32,75 km) - Eurosport 2
20:15-21:15 : LIVE Stage 16 / Heuvelland2 (32,75 km) final stage - Eurosport

The Belgium Ypres Rally gets underway in the evening of Friday 19 June and finishes at night on Saturday 20 June.


Posted: May 22, 2009 3:15 PM

Legendary Belgian driver Patrick Snijers will chase his fifth Belgium Ypres Rally victory at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo Super 2000.

The 51-year-old, who finished fifth on the event last year in a BFGoodrich Drivers' Team Peugeot 207, will drive for Rene Georges Rally Sport on the asphalt event, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which runs from June 18-20.

Rene George Rally Sport engineer Jack de Keijzer said:
"Patrick has been looking to use a Super 2000 car on Ypres. We were in contact with him last year about driving our Polo but in the end he won the chance to drive a Peugeot 207. For sure he can aim for atop-five finish although he is already thinking only about a podium."

De Keijzer confirmed Snijers would complete a two-day test alongside his new team-mate Francois Duval at an undisclosed venue in Belgium in the build-up to the rally. Duval will drive a Skoda Fabia Super 2000.

"It is very important Patrick and Francois are both well prepared for this opportunity," said de Keijzer.

Andreas Waldherr, who was due to compete in Ypres in a second Rene Georges-run Polo, has elected to concentrate on his Austrian championship title challenge instead and will therefore not be making the trip to Ypres.


Posted: May 22, 2009 3:14 PM

Freddy Loix believes he can still win this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge despite losing the title initiative to Kris Meeke on the Sata Rally Acores earlier this month.

Loix led the standings prior to the IRC's inaugural visit to the Azores but slipped two points behind Meeke following his fourth place finish on the island event.

However, Loix is the favourite to win his home event, the Belgium Ypres Rally, next month, a result he reckons will reinvigorate his title challenge.

"I am in a better position than I was 12 months ago before taking on Ypres, my favourite event," said Loix, who finished runner-up to Kronos Racing team-mate Nicolas Vouilloz in last year's standings. "It's going to be a big fight to win the championship and it's going to be very close, just like it was last year."

Loix, who has won the Belgium Ypres Rally on five occasions, is also confident that working with new co-driver Frederic Miclotte will increase his chances of claiming the coveted drivers' crown.

"The adaptation to my new co-driver went perfectly in the Azores and that has made me more confident for the rest of the season," said Loix. "But I have to be consistent and make sure I score points in every round."

Entries Received

Posted: May 20, 2009 8:45 AM

Irish Marshals Wanted:

Posted: May 17, 2009 2:21 PM

The 45th Belgium Ypres Rally takes place from June 18th to 20th 2009.
The rally counts towards the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the European and the Belgian Rally Championship.

The organisers are looking for help from Irish Marshals for the event. They can provide accommodation and catering.

For further details contact:

Alain Penasse
Boechoutsesteenweg, 150/4
B-2540 Hove (Belgium)
M +32 475 78 71 05
T +32 3 45 45 777
F +32 3 45 45 480

Francois Duval and Denis Giraudet give the Skoda Fabia S2000 its first outing in Belgium at the Belgium Ypres Rally

Posted: May 15, 2009 10:30 AM

See Event Website:


Posted: April 17, 2009 11:06 AM

Luca Betti will enter four rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this season in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 run by the new Kimera Motorsport team.

He will be co-driven by fellow Italian Giovanni Bernacchini, who has competed alongside Gigi Galli in the World Rally Championship in the past.

Betti, who has spent the last seasons in the IRC but is concentrating on the FIA European Rally Championship this season, will rejoin the series on the Belgium Ypres Rally in June. His programme also includes Rali Vinho Madeira in July, Barum Rally Zlin in Czech Republic in August and Rally Principe de Asturias in September.

The 31-year-old has experience of the IRC in a Honda Civic Type-R and 207 S2000. Before switching to the IRC in 2007, Betti competed in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.


Posted: April 17, 2009 10:39 AM

Spectators attending the Belgium Ypres Rally in June won't be subjected to an increase in ticket prices for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event.

As in previous years, fans will pay €30 for a ticket providing access to all special stages and the service park, which is located in the Grote Markt in the centre of Ypres and provides spectators with a unique opportunity to get close up to the competing cars and drivers.

Individual stage access tickets are available for €9 per stage with a discount of €2 offered to fans buying multiple tickets.

For €45, fans can buy a special 'fun' package, which includes access to all stages, an official rally programme, cap and gift.

A spokesperson for the event said: "The good news in these economically challenging times is that the organisers of the Belgium Ypres Rally have managed to keep the prices the same as before."

The Belgium Ypres Rally has been included on the IRC schedule since 2006. It remains one of the highlights of the calendar and runs entirely on Tarmac with stages easy accessible from the historic town.

This year's event takes place from June 18-20 and forms the fifth round of the IRC.


Posted: April 10, 2009 9:40 PM

Retired cyclist Paolo Bettini will make his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut when he contests the Ypres Rally in Belgium from June 18-20.

Bettini, a long-term rally fan, has contested a handful of events in his native Italy in the past.

He has linked up with fellow cyclist Franco Ballarin for an attack on the asphalt-based Ypres Rally in Belgium driving an Abarth Grande Punto. Ballarin will co-drive.

They chose the Ypres Rally because of its location to the Flanders region of Belgium, where they tackled several major cycling races in the past.

Bettini, 34, won several major titles in cycling, including at Olympic and world championship-level. He retired from competing in 2008 following a series of injuries.

Despite having some experience of rallying, Bettini will face a major challenge to adapt to the rigours of driving on the tight and twisty Belgian roads. However, there is a strong precedent for drivers switching from two wheels to four on the IRC: the reining IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz is a former 10-time downhill mountain bike champion.


Posted: March 22, 2009 12:13 AM

Francois Duval could return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 later this season.

Duval, 28, last appeared in the series on Vodafone Rally de Portugal last May, but was forced to retire the Abarth Grande Punto he was driving because of a wheel bearing failure.

He is now targeting an entry on the Ypres Westhoek Rally from June 20-22 in a Fabia supported by the Skoda importer in his native Belgium and hopes it won't be a one-off outing.

"I would like to try to do two or three rallies in the IRC," Duval said. "It's where all the drivers are going to. It is more interesting for me than the WRC because there are some opportunities for drivers."

Providing an agreement can be reached, the Belgian Rene Georges Rally Sport team would run Duval's Skoda. Duval tested a Volkswagen Polo Super 2000 for the squad recently and could tackle a round of the Belgian championship in the car next month.

"It was dry in the morning but the rain came in the afternoon," Duval said of the Polo test. "The car was not so bad although I think we could find some improvements in the chassis and the engine."

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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