The history of rally has never seen as many Fabia Super 2000s in the start list as the organizer of the upcoming Ypres Rally in Belgium, the fifth event of the IRC championship this season, expects to appear on the start line this weekend. Twelve Skoda Fabias in total are going to compete primarily with Peugeots the number of which is expected to be the same, and so experts believe that the event will see a fierce battle between these two brands. The hottest favorites for victory are the drivers of Skoda Motorsport (factory team), six times winner of this event Freddy Loix and second in the IRC rankings Jan Kopecky. Their main opponents will be Neuville (Belgium) and Bouffier (France), who are third and fourth in the IRC current rankings. The start list includes the reigning European Champion Luca Rossetti too.
At least 31 vehicles of the Super 2000 category are going to appear on the start line. The Ypres Rally in Belgium is characteristic of long, flat stretches where the crews drive at maximum speeds for a long time. Many of them end with a sharp, often perpendicular bend followed by another several miles long stretch. Moreover, the highest point of the route is only about 147 meters above sea level, which means that the route profile is incomparable with any other IRC event. The crews will do the 288 competition kilometers in less than 30 hours.
“Fast” Freddy Loix, Belgium’s ace and an icon of this rally, longs for his seventh triumph in Ypres:
“I am honoured to cooperate with Skoda Motorsport, they are an incredibly strong team. I am not going to Ypres with the ambition of finishing second, but I have to be realistic, because the start list is more competitive than ever before, full of big names. We will have to drive really smartly, with a high degree of precision. I think that my biggest opponents on the way to victory will be Jan Kopecky and Thierry Neuville.”
After two second places in the previous two years, Jan Kopecky would like to get to the top this year:
“I am looking forward to Ypres very much. We will do our best to improve our two second places – we are getting all the necessary support and we have a great car. If we have good luck, too, winning in Ypres may not be an unrealistic ambition.”
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