The world’s best World Rally Championship drivers visit the West Flemish roads that is known for its unique character, hard to see junctions and of course, cuts.
It makes for challenging recce, as the crews try to perfect their notes for the event but they make it clear, in the wet the grip can change a lot. The mud and dirt makes it hard to judge.
“It’s very hard to get it right in two passes of recce,” explains Toyota Gazoo WRT’s Elfyn Evans.
Judging the cuts correctly is essential to victory but the last thing the crews want to do is damage the car.
“You try and place your car as much as you can, to the inside of the corners to judge whether there’s anything in there during the recce. But it’s impossible to get everything. You also need to make sure your angle is right and for that you need to carry more speed [than permitted in recce], and it’s difficult to place the car further into the corner.”
“But you know, we have to try and balance that and it’s the same for everyone.”
The issue is further complicated by the threat of rain over the weekend and the evolution of the roads.
Finding the corners and the breaking points in Ypres is difficult as M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux explains.
“We are middle of the field sometimes we don’t find the corner,” Fourmaux said. “But there is a lot of code where you can use or just a tree or different fields or a maize or whatever. And then just to try to make okay this corner is there or near to that.”
He continues to explain the tactics of cutting and what the drivers must think about when entering a corner in Ypres.
“It’s true that sometimes even in the corner, you want to go into cuts and sometimes it’s better to stay out.” Fourmaux said.
But it can be more difficult than just staying on the tarmac as the road can get quite dirty and slippery. “There can be dirt on the road if the other guys are going into the cuts you must go into the cuts or you will be in the dirt and lose time.”
It is the first time on tarmac since Rally Croatia and the teams come in with some changes as Hyundai Motorsport’s Theirry Neuville explains.
“We worked on the settings in general. We adapt to the road conditions and the stage profile. But in between as well, we had some upgrades on the mappings after Croatia. In general, I think we have improved a bit our performance on tarmac.” Neuville said, as he hopes to defend his 2021 Ypres win.
In any case the WRC drivers face a unique challenge in Ypres!
The RacerViews info
By Sam Tickell
Written for Ardeca Ypres Rally Belgium
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