ERC: Glorious 10th win for Loix at Ypres


Freddy Loix took his 10th Ypres win but the victory margin belies the fight he had to make to get there. Punctures and bad luck ruled this rally…Loix_wins-800x533


Freddy Loix came from almost 30 seconds behind to score a sensation 10th victory on the Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally, and in doing so gives the ŠKODA Fabia R5 victory on its FIA European Rally Championship debut.

Co-driven by Johan Gitsels, Loix had to adapt his driving style to make up for a lack of mechanical grip with his new BMA-run car, which struggled to find the required grip coming out of the many tight T-junctions. Having been tipped as pre-event hot favourite, Loix was fifth overnight, 25.8 seconds behind the leader after seven stages. His first of five stage wins was only registered on SS9. But Loix gradually closed the gap on the cars ahead, and victory was assured when Craig Breen retired after SS12, Stéphane Lefebvre picked up a puncture on the same stage and leader Bryan Bouffier was forced to stop to change a puncture on SS15. Loix also scored maximum ERC Asphalt Masters points.

“We started not so quick, with a new car that we had to get used to,” said Loix. “It was not such a good feeling to start off with changing direction, but we worked very hard as a team and step-by-step we did it. To win the Ypres Rally for a tenth time is pretty special. For a 45-year old driver, twentieth time here, against all these young drivers, is not so bad! It is a highlight of my career.”

Bouffier had driven brilliantly in his Citroën DS3 R5, and despite the attacked by Loix held the lead by 1.4 seconds entering SS15. Such had been his pace, that even though he lost two minutes with his mid-stage tyre change, he still finished second, 1m 27.5s behind.

Vincent Verschueren put previous Ypres Rally bad luck behind him to finish third on his home round of the ERC. He had a nervous run to the finish, as his Citroën DS3 R5 had lost first gear – although he didn’t reveal that until the end of the final stage, as he didn’t want his rivals to know.


Tibor Érdi led from start to finish to claim FIA European Rally Championship ERC2 victory in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X by 3m 35.6s on the Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally.

Co-driven by double Hungarian rally champion Gergely Patko, Érdi used his experience of the West Flanders roads to take an early lead, and held onto it with 12 fastest stage times, despite Vojtěch Štajf getting fastest and fastest as his first appearance on the Ypres Rally progressed. Once Štajf got used to the stages, and had changed his driving style to stop his Subaru Duck Czech National Team Impreza WRX STI sliding so much in the tight corners, he set five fastest times, although stopping to replace a front left puncture on SS15 finally confirmed him in the runners-up position. Second place was enough for Štajf to extend his ERC2 lead, which was important as the Czech driver will skip the next round in Estonia.

ZZZZZZZ-800x533Junior ERC

leks Zawada jumped from third in ERC Juniors to score his maiden class victory, after a dramatic final stage on the Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally.

The young Polish driver led for the opening four stages in his Adam R2, but spun, twice, on the opening stage of day two and got stuck in a ditch, losing one minute. A magnificent drive saw him fight back from sixth to third, before both drivers ahead of him hit problems within sight of the finish.

Marijan Griebel looked on course to win in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Adam, but a puncture on the last stage cost him two minutes. This would have seen Diogo Gago take victory for the Peugeot Rally Academy, but after a textbook performance his 208 stopped on the final stage – meaning Griebel only dropped to second.

Julius Tannert fought hard for his third place finish, fighting back from early set-up issues with his Adam R2 to show his class on fast asphalt. Likewise, Gino Bux got faster and faster as his confidence returned, finishing strongly in fifth in his Peugeot Belgium Luxembourg 208. Ralfs Sirmacis put his 208 off the road on SS13 and spectators with a rope came to his rescue. He finished sixth, while his Sport Racing Technologies team-mate Vasily Gryazin wasn’t so lucky – crashing out on SS14 and blocking the road for Tannert and Amaury Molle. The young Belgian driver drove sensible when his Fiesta R2’s brakes disappeared, to clinch the final ERC Junior finishing position.

Title rivals Emil Bergkvist and Chris Ingram both failed to finish. Bergkvist retired 9kms into SS12 with an engine related problem – his Adam R2 had an oil leak, but only a detailed examination will determine if that was the cause or the result of the engine shutting down. It was also an engine related issue that put Ingram out, as he lost all drive on his Peugeot UK-supported 208 leaving the start line of SS10. He had just set his second fastest time of the event, and was on a charge. Florin Tincescu retired his 208 with gearbox problems and Joachim Wageman parked his 208 in a deep ditch on SS8.