The first big name for the Ypres Rally Masters is known. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, the vice-World Rally Champions and 2018 Renties Ypres Rally winners, will bring their Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC, the same car with where they fly the flag for the Korean brand in the World Championship. For the first time, a new generation WRC will compete on Belgian special stages.
The launch of the Ypres Rally Masters, a new competition for young timers and the new generation of World Rally Cars, has made this possible. “To repeat last year and drive an R5 in the Renties Ypres Rally would not have been newsworthy to the fans. We won the race last year. What more could we do? On the other hand, we really want to be part of it in Ypres, because it is great to drive for our fans in our own country. The enthusiasm of our supporters was fantastic in Ypres last year, which is why we are starting again, but this time with the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC. ”
The four-time vice World Champion is already looking forward to the stages on the narrow lanes around Ypres. “Last year, Nicolas and I wondered what it would be like to drive the WRC on the Ypres course. The rally is very specific, with deep cuts, and also very fast. It will be a challenge to go fast with our Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC, ” laughs Thierry. “We may miss a bit of a competitive feeling because we are not competing against the other R5s, but that way we can entertain the fans. For me it is certainly interesting to tame Ypres with the WRC. We are going to drive at a fast pace without taking unnecessary risks. It will be great for the fans! ”
Superstage, organiser of the Renties Ypres Rally and the Ypres Rally Masters, is delighted that the nation’s best is coming to the start. Furthermore with an official Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC that has never before been seen in action in our country.
“In recent years we have noticed how popular Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul are among Belgian rally fans. It is an honour to welcome them to the start of the first Ypres Rally Masters. As a reminder: the Ypres Rally Masters is a new competition that there will be 12 different classification tests (5 Friday, 7 Saturday), good for 143 km against the clock, “says Jan Huyghe, Marketing & Sales Director of Superstage. “Seeing the Hyundai i20 Coupé in action at the well-known and challenging stages of the Ypres Rally, is a sight every rally fan is looking forward to.”
There is also great enthusiasm at Hyundai Belgium, says Olivier Sermeus, Managing Director of Hyundai Belux: “We have long assumed that Thierry and Nicolas would not appear at the start of the 2019 edition. After two consecutive years with the i20 R5 have started, and certainly after last year’s win, we were looking for added value to shoulder for this edition. The fact that a car that captures the imagination like the i20 WRC can run on Belgian soil with our Belgian heroes, made it easy for us to confirm our participation. ”
With the arrival of Thierry Neuville in the Ypres Rally Masters and the presence of Mister Ypres Freddy Loix in the Renties Ypres Rally, it promises to be a grand rally party from 27 to 29 June in Ypres.