Rnd 6 ERC Ypres Rally June 27-29 talk/results spoiler**
Next Rnd 6 - GEKO Ypres Rally 27-29 June
Using farmland asphalt roads around the historic market town, the narrow stages are lined by drainage ditches, errant telegraph poles and popularised by tight junctions that lie in wait to catch out the unwary. Taking cuts is a risk due to hidden obstacles.
Freddy Loix lived up to his ‘Fast Freddy’ moniker by setting the pace on the Geko Ypres Rally’s Qualifying Stage this evening as history was made in the FIA European Rally Championship.
While Qualifying Stages aren’t new to the ERC, this was the first time that the timed format had been trialled on an asphalt event. With thousands of fans flocking to the course around the village of Nieuwkerke close to Ypres, the event was deemed a big success.
Loix, in a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, was fastest over the 4.88-kilometre course, 2.15s quicker than Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen. New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon was third fastest in a Ford Fiesta S2000 with Michał Sołowow fourth and Bryan Bouffier fifth after reporting a small build up of smoke inside his Cuckoomobile.be-backed Peugeot 207 Super 2000.
Despite holding the record for the most wins in Ypres with seven triumphs to his name, the legendary Belgian was surprised with his performance.
“It’s a new thing for me but already from the first run I had a very good feeling with the car and I said to Fred [Miclotte, my co-driver] that we have to go for it because it’s my type of road and we had a fantastic feeling,” said Loix. “Normally I need 10 to 15 kilometres to get into the business but this was not the case and we were very clean and flat out even though it’s been one and a half years since we were last in the ŠKODA.”
Loix will now get to choose his starting position first for Friday’s opening leg when the selection takes place in Ypres’ Grote Markt at 13:00hrs local time tomorrow. “I want to be first car on the road, particularly if it rains.”
Breen, who is making his Ypres debut this week, said: “I was a bit rusty at the beginning but it was good in the end and I’ve got a good position for tomorrow. My main objective is to be as close as I can to Freddy and we’ve done that so I can sleep well tonight.”
A potato field is no place for a rally car as Hayden Paddon found out to his cost on the opening stage of the Geko Ypres Rally.
Paddon, who is making his FIA European Rally Championship, went off the road and into a potato field on the first corner of the Dikkebus stage.
The New Zealander lost some 20s with his moment and reported a bad vibration in his Ford Fiesta S2000 thereafter due to the amount of mud he picked up.
But there were no such problems for Freddy Loix who set the pace in his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. The seven-time winner charged through the 24.89-kilometre test in a time of 8m12.4s, 2.0s faster than the effort recorded by Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen.
“It’s already quite tricky,” said Loix. “The R5 cars running in front of us are cutting left and right but it’s okay, it’s not a bad start.”
Breen, meanwhile, reported light rain nearing the end of the stage. He said: “The car was moving a lot an it was difficult to get confidence a lot.”
However, with the rain intensifying for the cars running further down the order, large time differentials began to appear in the results. Michał Sołowow reported possible suspension damage to his Fiesta RRC, while Bryan Bouffier said the road surface was becoming more and more slippery due to the rain. He was third quickest, 15.9s down on Loix. Elsewhere, Mikko Pajunen spun at a junction and completed the stage with smoke coming from the rear of his Fiesta. Stage two, Wijtschate 1, goes live at 17:35hrs local time and measures 24.89 kilometres in length.
Another stage, another stage win for Freddy Loix who continues to set the pace on round six of the FIA European Rally Championship.
In increasingly slippery conditions, ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 driver Loix took 13m20.5s to complete the 24.89 kilometres of Wijtschate to move 12.3s ahead of Craig Breen in the battle for victory on the Geko Ypres Rally. Breen, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000, was 10.0s slower than Loix, the seven-time Ypres winner, with Bryan Bouffier third fastest in another Peugeot.
Hayden Paddon continues to drop time in his Ford Fiesta S2000. The New Zealander, who went off into a potato field on the first corner of the opening stage, said: “It’s very difficult, we’ve got no grip and it’s very slippery. We’re having lots of understeer and locking our brakes. We’ve got no grip and no rhythm. It’s rubbish.”
In the ERC Production Car Cup, Andreas Aigner continues to lead the class but there was disappointment for Jaroslav Orsák who has gone off the road and into a ditch in his GPD Mit Metal Racing Team entry and is out of leg one. “The car is not so broken but he can’t get back onto the road,” said a spokesperson for the Czech squad.
Stage three, Langemark, is up next and covers 13.82 kilometres.
Freddy Loix will head to first service in Ypres leading round six of the FIA European Rally Championship by 15.7s.
Belgium’s finest has won all three stages of the all-asphalt Geko Ypres Rally in the ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver and countryman Frédéric Miclotte. His latest success came on the 13.82-kilometre Langemark stage, which he completed 3.4s quicker than Craig Breen in a Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000.
Bryan Bouffier was third quickest in his Delta Rally Peugeot with Hayden Paddon fourth fastest and Michał Sołowow fifth best.
After SS4: Aigner on form in ERC Production Car Cup
While Freddy Loix continues to edge clear in the battle for outright honours on the Geko Ypres Rally, Andreas Aigner remains in control of the FIA ERC Production Car Cup classification following stage four, Dikkebus 2.
Driving a Subaru Impreza R4 STI, Stohl Racing’s Austrian ace heads Andy Lefebvre by 15.3s in the battle for class glory. “It’s tricky, we try but with not too much risk,” said Aigner. “It is difficult to see the situation on the stages and how clear it is.”
Out front, Craig Breen lost vital seconds to Loix when he picked up a puncture on his Peugeot Rally Academy 207. He now trails his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia rival by 21.3s. “We got it two kilometres from the end and we were lucky not to have lost more time,” said Breen.
Bryan Bouffier, who was third fastest in his Cuckoomobile.be Peugeot, reported hitting a big rock with the front-right of his car. With his Ford Fiesta RRC restored to full working order, Michał Sołowow edged out Hayden Paddon through the 14.30-kilometre stage. He’s 16.8s behind in the overall classification in fifth position.
Craig Breen’s hopes of catching Freddy Loix in the race for first place on the Geko Ypres Rally are in tatters thanks to a broken driveshaft on the road section heading to the rerun of Wijtschate.
Breen completed the 24.89-kilometre test in rear-wheel drive only and slips to third behind Bryan Bouffier following the fault on his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000. “We’re devastated because I thought we could have taken time out of Freddy,” said Breen. “Luck has not been on our side and fingers crossed we’ll be able to continue.”
Loix, who was fastest through the stage in his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, now leads round six of the FIA European Rally Championsihp by 1m36.6s. Breen slips to third, 7.5s in front of New Zealander and fellow Ypres newcomer Hayden Paddon.
Elsewhere, a misted windscreen caused Michał Sołowow to go off the road in his Ford Fiesta RRC. The Pole has lost more than three minutes as a result. Meanwhile, Andreas Aigner feared he’d punctured the front-left tyre on his Subaru Impreza after a big hit early in the stage. Although his Yokohama tyre remained inflated, the Austrian reported a big vibration.
After SS6: Paddon prevents a Loix stage lockout in Ypres
Hayden Paddon has moved into third place on the Geko Ypres Rally after winning his first stage on round six of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Paddon outpaced event leader and seven-time winner Freddy Loix by 0.7s to move ahead of Craig Breen in the overall standings. Breen, meanwhile, continues to drop time with the broken front-left driveshaft that has been holding him back since the road section heading to stage five. He is now 13.2s behind Paddon in fourth, 2m22.2s adrift of Loix, whose advantage over second-placed Bryan Bouffier is 1m36.2s.
"It's been a little bit better this afternoon but it’s been difficult to get confidence,” said Paddon, whose time through the 9.66 kilometres of the new Mesen stage was 6m00.4s. “But we got through and that has got to be an achievement. If it starts drying out the car and the tyres will come into their own."
Crews are now in Ypres for 45 minutes of service prior to the overnight halt. Saturday’s action begins with the 14.34-kilometre Vieteren-Krombeke stage at 10:38hrs local time.
ERC Geko Ypres Rally day one report: Home hero Loix on top
Freddy Loix is on course to make it a record-extending eighth victory on the Geko Ypres Rally following a dominant performance on round six of the FIA European Rally Championship in Belgium today (Friday).
Back in action in a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 for the first time in more than a year, Loix was fastest through leg one’s opening five stages, which took place in increasingly treacherous conditions. Despite being outpaced by Hayden Paddon on the day’s final run, Loix’s lead at the overnight halt in Ypres stands at 1m36.2s. Bryan Bouffier, in a Peugeot 207 S2000, is second with Paddon third at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000.
“It’s going very well,” said the Belgian legend, who earned the right to select his starting position first after winning Thursday’s evening Qualifying Stage. “We could go quickly from the first stage because I had a good feeling with the car and we saw no reason why we should not push. Tomorrow is still a long day and now we have to control the race, which won’t be easy if the conditions are as difficult as they have been today.”
While Bouffier reported a trouble-free day alongside new co-driver Lara Vanneste, Paddon struggled for grip and confidence – losing 20s on the first corner of the first stage when he skated into a potato field – before fighting back in the afternoon.
Craig Breen was firmly in contention for top honours only for his impressive challenge to unravel during the evening loop of three stages. He lost approximately five seconds with a puncture on stage four before a broken front-left driveshaft on the road section heading to the next run left his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000 on rear-wheel drive only. As a result he has slipped to fourth overall and 2m22.2s adrift of Loix.
It’s been a dramatic start to day two of the Geko Ypres Rally for Bryan Bouffier.
The winner of the last round of the FIA European Rally Championship in Corsica completed day one in second overall but hit trouble on the road section heading to Saturday’s opening run when his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 ground to a halt.
"It was okay, we had a bit under pressure as we had an electronic problem on the road section,” said Bouffier, who remains in second overall after going third quickest. “We managed to fix it but the engine completely stop. We hope it will be okay.”
Craig Breen set the pace in his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 S2000, going 1.6s faster than Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Hayden Paddon. Breen now trails Paddon by 11.6s in the battle for third overall.
"It was a difficult stage, we are on four hard tyres,” said Breen. “I think it was a combination of soft and hard that was needed there. I don't think we need to do anything silly, I think to catch Freddy Loix is just about impossible."
Loix, the event leader who is running 10th on the road, was fourth fastest, 7.0s slower than Breen.
Craig Breen has made it two stage wins out of two on round six of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The Peugeot Rally Academy ace was quickest through the 12.44 kilometres of Watou and is now 7.1s behind Hayden Paddon in the chase for third place.
Freddy Loix, who was second fastest, 2.6s down on Breen, remains on course for his eighth Geko Ypres Rally victory with his lead over Bryan Bouffier standing at 1m35.3s.
Mikko Pajunen, running first on the road, spun his Ford Fiesta S2000 and had to reverse. Andreas Aigner dropped a few seconds to ERC Production Car Cup rival Andy Lefevere when he overshot a junction. Lefevere climbs to seventh overall after setting the fifth best time in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Michał Sołowow also lost time with an overshoot, while Germain Bonnefis was slowed when his Renault Mégane’s intercom failed and he was unable to hear co-driver Olivier Fournier’s pacenotes.
Freddy Loix might have failed to secure a stage win so far on day two of the Geko Ypres Rally but he continues to hold a comfortable advantage on round six of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Loix was second fastest on the 7.39-kilometre Westouter test – 1.4s down on stage winner Craig Breen – but has grown his advantage out front to 1m36.1s over Bryan Bouffier.
“Freddy is not the target because he’s untouchable in this race,” said Bouffier, who is competing in a Cuckoomobile.be Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “He’s perfect on this rally and it’s impossible to catch him.”
Loix, at the wheel of a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia S2000, said: “I have quite a lot of experience here and also many rallies in Belgium are similar. I know the roads to be honest and everything together makes it a bit more easy for me. Yesterday a few times I was driving on the limit, today I am controlling.”
Breen’s third stage win in succession means he’s 3.4s behind third-placed Hayden Paddon in a Symtech Racing Ford Fiesta S2000.
In the battle for ERC Production Car Cup honours, Andy Lefevere has slashed Andreas Aigner’s advantage to 4.0s. The Austrian says he’s lacking in confidence following his overshoot on the previous run. Elsewhere, Davy Vanneste says he’s losing time due to a handbrake problem on his Peugeot.
After SS10: Aigner in trouble as Breen snatches third
Andreas Aigner’s 100 per cent winning run in the ERC Production Car Cup could be over after the Subaru ace hit trouble on the 14.19 kilometres of Kemmelberg.
The Austrian driver, a double winner in the showroom class in 2013, has lost more than two minutes and the lead of the category following an off, which damaged the left-rear of his Stohl Racing-run car.
“It was in a really muddy place in the forest and I hit a tree with the rear,” said Aigner, who is now 1m44.5s behind Andy Lefevere in ninth overall.
Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen has moved ahead of Hayden Paddon in the battle for third place after the Irishman claimed his fourth stage victory in a row. Freddy Loix continues to lead for ŠKODA Motorsport with a margin of 1m37.3s over Bryan Bouffier in second place.
Crews are now heading to Ypres for a 30-minute service halt.
Andreas Aigner’s outside hopes of regaining the lead of the FIA ERC Production Car Cup section on the Geko Ypres Rally have suffered a major setback after he damaged the front-left tyre on his Subaru Impreza R4 STI.
Aigner dropped out of first place in the showroom class when he damaged his Stohl Racing entry’s left-rear wheel hitting a tree on stage 10. And the misery continued when the ERC Production Car Cup title leader picked up a front-left puncture on the first corner of the 14.19-kilometre Heuvelleland test.
“I don’t know, it’s not my day,” said a dejected Aigner, whose delay was more than two minutes. “In the first left-hander we had a puncture.”
Craig Breen is now 26.1s clear of Hayden Paddon in third place after he went fastest outright for the fifth time today in his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000. Breen was 7.5s faster than outright leader Freddy Loix, whose advantage in his ŠKODA Motorsport entry stands at 1m41.1s with Bryan Bouffier in second spot.
Bryan Bouffier has made his home advantage count by taking his first stage win of the Geko Ypres Rally, which has crossed into his native France for two runs.
Bouffier completed the 9.85-kilometre Lille-Eurométropole test in a time of 5m12.7s to bring Craig Breen’s sequence of stage wins to an end. Bouffier is now 25.0s ahead of Breen in second place with Freddy Loix still out in front with an advantage of 1m37.9s.
“It was okay, we did a good time and I am quite happy,” said Bouffier, who is driving the same Peugeot 207 Super 2000 he used to win round five of the FIA European Rally Championship in Corsica last month.
Jean-Mathieu Leandri, the other leading Frenchman in the field, was eighth fastest.
After SS13: Loix in control heading back to Belgium
The FIA European Rally Championship will head back into Belgium following two stages in France with Freddy Loix out in front by 1m38.2s.
Loix was fastest through the 1.88-kilometre Show Wasquehal stage, which featured a new jump for this year to increase the spectacle for the fans. The ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 driver edged Bryan Bouffier by 0.3s with Craig Breen 1.2s further back in another Peugeot 207 S2000.
The Geko Ypres Rally now returns to Belgium for the 28.82-kilometre Hollebeke stage, which gets underway at 16:05hrs local time and is the longest of the ERC counter.
Hayden Paddon’s Geko Ypres Rally is over after the New Zealander suffered a high-speed crash in his Symtech Racing Ford Fiesta S2000.
Paddon was in fourth place on the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier but crashed in sixth gear approximately three kilometres into the event’s longest stage, the 28.82-kilometre Hollebeke test.
Craig Breen was also in trouble in the stage, overshooting a junction and stalling the engine in his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000. The Irishman reckons the incident cost him eight seconds. As a result he now trails stage winner Bryan Bouffier by 29.5s in the chase for the runner-up spot.
Elsewhere, Mikko Pajunen lost time with a time-consuming puncture while Michał Sołowow was slowed slightly when his Fiesta’s flat-shift mechanism developed a fault.
Out front, Freddy Loix’s lead for ŠKODA Motorsport is 1m34.7s heading to a 30-minute service halt in Ypres. Stage 15, the rerun of Vleteren-Krombeke, gets underway at 18:00hrs local time.
Bryan Bouffier is continuing to resist Craig Breen’s advances in the battle for second place on the Geko Ypres Rally.
Bouffier, from France, edged Breen by 1.1s on stage 15 of the FIA European Rally Championship counter, the 14.34 kilometres of Vleteren-Krombeke. It means that his advantage over his fellow Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver is 30.6s heading to stage 16. “I’m happy with my time,” said Bouffier. “I drive well but I keep pushing.”
Freddy Loix, who was third quickest, continues to lead in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
Davy Vanneste has overtaken fellow Belgian Andy Lefevere for fourth place on the Geko Ypres Rally.
Vanneste is using a four-wheel-drive car on his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time and continues to make progress. The Peugeot 207 Super 2000 pilot was 1.4s quicker than Lefevere – in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X – through the repeat of Watou and now heads his countryman by 1.3s with four stages remaining.
Meanwhile, Bryan Bouffier has strengthened his grip on second place. The Peugeot 207 aces were separated by 0.3s through the 12.44-kilometre test. As a result, Bouffier is now 30.9s ahead of Breen with four stages of the ERC counter remaining. Freddy Loix was third fastest and leads overall by 1m31.8s.
After SS17: Make mine frites and mussels, says leader Loix
Freddy Loix might be three stages away from the finish of the Geko Ypres Rally but he’s already planning his celebratory meal.
The Belgian legend, in a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, is inching closer to a record-extending eighth victory on the FIA European Rally Championship event and was in relaxed mood at the completion of the 7.39-kilometre Westouter test. “I’m going to go for French fries and Belgian mussels,” Loix told ERC Rally Radio’s Julian Porter.
Craig Breen was fastest through the run in his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 S2000. It means he now trails Bryan Bouffier by 29s in the battle for second heading to the final stage of the evening loop, Kemmelberg 2, which goes live at 19:04hrs local time.
Craig Breen has refused to give up on finishing runner-up on the Geko Ypres Rally, round six of the FIA European Rally Championship, despite Bryan Bouffier outpacing him through the rerun of Kemmelberg.
Bouffier was 1.6s quicker than Breen through the 14.19-kilometre test, which finishes in a slippery forest section. He now heads his fellow Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver by 30.6s with two stages left to run.
However, Breen isn’t about to concede second place to Bouffier: “I know it is a big gap and we have a big stage to come. There were some very muddy places in there. On merit I do not think it is possible [to catch Bryan], but if there is a problem we want to be there.”
Andreas Aigner’s miserable second day continued when his Subaru Impreza suffered a loss of brakes after two kilometres. “We had no brakes after two kilometres, I think there is a leak in the system because we have lost all the fluid,” said the Austrian. “We had to use the handbrake and go very smoothly.”
Freddy Loix, who was third fastest for ŠKODA Motorsport, leads overall by 1m25.1s. A 30-minute service halt is up next. The penultimate stage, Heuvelland 2, starts at 20:59hrs local time.