Freddy Loix has done it again, for the eleventh time the Belgian has won the ERC Ypres Rally, this being his fourth win in a row. Driving a Skoda Fabia R5, Loix only took the lead on the 8th stage after the leader – Bryan Bouffier – succumbed to a broken gearbox. It was a full Belgian podium this weekend, with Kris Princen claiming second in his Peugeot 208 T16 while Bernd Casier scored P3 in a Ford Fiesta R5.
FIA ERC Ypres Rally 2016 Results
1. Freddy Loix (BEL)/Johan Gitsels (NED) ŠKODA Fabia R5….2h22m15.1s
2. Kris Princen (BEL)/Peter Kaspers (BEL) Peugeot 208 T16….+56.8s
3. Bernd Casier (BEL)/Pieter Vyncke (BEL) Ford Fiesta R5….+1m19.8s
4. Hermen Kobus (NED)/Erik de Wild (NED) ŠKODA Fabia R5….+1m27.0s
5. Vincent Verschueren (BEL)/Veronique Hostens (BEL) ŠKODA Fabia R5….+1m32.3s
6. Pieter Tsjoen (BEL)/Eddy Chevaillier (BEL) Ford Fiesta R5….+2m29.9s
7. Jaromír Tarabus (CZE)/Daniel Trunkát (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5….+2m49.2s
8. Claudie Tanghe (BEL)/Filip Cuvelier (BEL) Ford Fiesta R5 ….+2m52.0s
9. Kevin Demaerschalk (BEL)/Bram Eelbode (BEL) Citroën DS3 R5….+5m45.9s
10. Antonín Tlusťák (CZE)/Ladislav Kučera (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5….+7m46.0s
Bouffier led the rally from the first stage all the way to the seventh stage where he suffered a broken gearbox in his Citroen DS3 R5. It was at this point when Loix grabbed the slim opportunity before building a lead over his rivals. Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre was only getting warmed up as the Citroen driver thrashed the first six stages on day 2, pocketing a win in each before ending the day behind Loix. Lefebvre had trimmed Loix’s lead to 5.3s, but he incurred a gearbox problem just like his Citroen counterpart. Despite being forced into early retirement, he was awarded the coveted Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy.
Fourth and fifth places went to two Skoda Fabia R5s, with Hermen Kobus leading Vincent Verschueren to the chequered flag. Verschueren was on his way to the podium but he fell sick on the second day, resulting to a couple of mistakes including a spin on the final stage.
Hyundai used this round to debut their new i20 R5 rally car which should be ready for customer deliveries later this year. The car was driven thoroughly by Kevin Abbring and Seb Marshall.
Elsewhere, the ERC2 win went to Italians Giacomo Scattolon and Paolo Zanini driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Germans Marijan Griebel and Stefan Kopczyk claimed the ERC3 win in a Opel Adam R2.
Rally Estonia is the next event on the FIA ERC calendar 2016, scheduled to take place on July 15-17.