Thierry Neuville sets the early pace in Ypres Rally


The drivers set a rapid pace on Friday evening in Nieuwkerke, where they were presented with a 5.37 km shakedown and qualifying test.

Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul set the pace on the qualifying stage in the Hyundai i30 R5 on the Ypres Rally (photo: Sam Tickell)

Even though Thierry Neuville did not feel well, after a reaction to something he had eaten the previous night, the World Rally Championship leader was fastest in his Hyundai i20 R5. Neuville was a second faster than the Skoda Fabia R5 of Vincent Verschueren and more than 1.2 seconds faster than the Citroën C3 R5 of Kevin Abbring.

Three different brands formed the top three, but were followed by a series of Skodas, with another 5 Czech models in the Top 10. Then came another 4 Fabia R5s followed between 11th and the 15th places.

Bryan Bouffier (Skoda) had a poor start. The Frenchman went off stage and clocked only the 17th fastest time, ahead of Guillaume de Mevius (Peugeot 208 T16) and Davy Vanneste (in guess what car!).

Up next: the choice of starting positions for the fastest 15 drivers on the Qualifying Stage, at 12:30pm on the podium, followed by the autograph session.

Qualifying Stage

  1. Neuville-Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 R5 #5) : 2:56.459 ; 2. Verschueren-Hostens (Skoda Fabia R5 #46) : +1.008 ; 3. Abbring-Tsjoen (Citroën C3 R5 #2) : +1.233 ;  4. Princen-Eelbode (Skoda Fabia R5 #6) : +1.334 ;  5. Veiby-Skjaermoen (Skoda Fabia R5 #4) : +1.803 ;  6. Yales-Edmondson (Skoda Fabia R5 #11) : 1.985 ;  7. Cherain-Cuvelier (Skoda Fabia R5 #14) : 2.448 ;  8. Demaerschalk-Vanneste (Citroën C3 R5 #10) : 2.679 ;  9. Moffett-Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5 #16) : 3.368 ;  10. Kobus-De Wild (Skoda Fabia R5 #8) : 4.026 ;  …