Top Belgian, British join specialists for the 2019 Ypres Rally


The 55th edition of the Renties Ypres Rally has turned out a dream programme full of international stars. The top Belgian and British rally drivers are at the start but to make life difficult for them, three purebred “Ypres” specialists take up the challenge, along with international rally talents looking to show why they have a promising future ahead.

There is the record holder for the number of victories in Ypres, eleven-time winner Freddy Loix; the fastest man in recent years and the winner of 2017, Kevin Abbring; and the moral winner of the 2015 edition and also a crack on asphalt, Craig Breen. Anyone who makes a shortlist of specialists who could bring something extra to Ypres would certainly put these three maestros on their list. Then together with Bryan Bouffier and Thierry Neuville, who are present but with a WRC in the Rally Masters.

Freddy Loix says not to go for the win with the Skoda from Pieter Tsjoen Racing. That cannot be said of Craig Breen. The Irishman, who is still active in the Irish championship rallying with a Ford Fiesta RS WRC this weekend, is fully committed to the victory in Ypres: “Last time, some 4 years ago, I was faster than Freddy Loix, but then we experienced bad luck. I am coming to Ypres to put myself in the spotlight, to gain rhythm, but especially to … win! ” For this, he can count on a top car, a VW Polo R5 from the BMA workshops.

Abbring Kevin – Tsjoen Pieter // Ford Fiesta R5 // Aarova Rally Sprint // Sam Tickell // RacerViews

Kevin Abbring, who is navigated for the rally by Veronique Hostens, the former co-drivers of Vincent Verschueren, will also drive a Volkswagen Polo R5. The VW will feel familiar, for years the young Dutchman defended the colours of Volkswagen in the WRC. With a good result, Abbring wants to force new opportunities at an international rally level.

Ole Christian Veiby, the young Norwegian, comes in the first place to increase his experience on asphalt, but as a WRC-2 driver, Veiby naturally wants to compete for a podium or a close place of honour. Veiby is exchanging its trusted VW for a Hyundai i20 R5.

Four solid references, but the Belgian stars are not intimidated. Kris Princen, after three victories in the Belgian Championship, starts confidently in Ypres. That also applies to Sébastien Bedoret, who took the win in Wervik, and to Vincent Verschueren, who only lost the victory in Wervik due to a mistake in the final test. The three fighters are ready to compete for a win in Ypres.

#7//Demaerschalk Kevin&Delorge Hans//Citroën C3 R5//TAC Rally 2019, Belgian Rally Championship//Sam Tickell with RacerViews

In the title fight not all will take the start and it is unfortunate that some Walloon riders will not present. Kevin Demaerschalk, though does take up the challenge with his Citroën C3 R5, now that the man from Hoeilaart has found love in Ypres, he will want to shine. That’s what Davy Vanneste wants, who gets the chance from his main sponsor to join a VW Polo R5. Furthermore, we can also expect competitive times from Pieter-Jan Michiel Cracco with the Skoda. Joachim Wagemans hopes to repeat his top five from the Spa Rally with his Peugeot 208 T16. Filip Pyck, Tuur Vanden Abeele, Bert Coene, Bruno Parmentier and Philip Cracco want to enjoy their R5 experience.

Then of course there are the British, who are fighting for the points of their Championship. Defending champion Matt Edwards wants to take a shot at winning to keep up with Tom Cave, the leader in the BRC with his Hyundai i20 R5. Rhys Yates and Marty McCormack have already proven that they can be competitive in Ypres. The young Dutchman Kevin van Deijne, in his Skoda Fabia R5, will also want to mingle with these fast Brits.

7 [Great Britain] M.Edwards D.Garrod FORD Fiesta R5 (RC2
In short, with 27 R5s at the start, supplemented by a number of roaring Porsches, we can expect fireworks again in Ypres. The spectacle will start this Wednesday evening. The highlights will start in Boezinge with the Shakedown program starts for the Historic competitors and for Thierry Neuville and Bryan Bouffier in their World Rally Cars. Can not be missed!