Loix Dominates Opening Stages In Ypres

by Peter Allen

Freddy Loix has dominated the opening day of the Ypres Rally in Belgium, the fifth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Loix, chasing his seventh win on the event, won all of the six stages in his Skoda, to hold a 36.7 second lead over Guy Wilks of Peugeot UK. Wilks has held second place since the opening stage.

The rally had been billed as a battle between Belgian veteran Loix and young compatriot Thierry Neuville. However, the Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg man broke a wheel, and consequently his suspension, on the opening stage and was forced to retire. Joining him on the sidelines after SS1 was Skoda UK's Andreas Mikkelsen, who found a ditch.

Local man Pieter Tsjoen is third in his Kronos-run Peugeot. He took the position from Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot France) on SS2, but is now fighting to keep hold of it from the Frenchman.

Former Junior World Rally Championship driver Hans Weijs is an impressive fifth on his S2000 debut in his Skoda Fabia. He has the similar machines of Bernd Casier and Toni Gardemeister behind him.

Luca Rossetti runs eighth in his Abarth Punto, having complained of engine problems on SS4. Pole Michal Solowow is ninth in his Fiesta, just ahead of Estonian Karl Krudda.

Giandomenico Basso is 11th in the first of the Protons, with teammate PG Andersson 18th.

Ireland's Robert Barrable held an outstanding seventh after SS2 in his Skoda, but a spin on SS3 means he is now down in 17th.

Top ten positions after SS6:

Pos. No Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1 3 Freddy Loix Skoda Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 51:11.1
2 12 Guy Wilks Peugeot UK Peugeot 207 S2000 +36.7
3 16 Pieter Tsjoen Kronos Peugeot 207 S2000 +54.1
4 2 Bryan Bouffier Peugeot France Peugeot 207 S2000 +58.9
5 19 Hans Weijs Wevers Skoda Fabia S2000 +1:20.2
6 17 Bernd Casier Duindistel Skoda Fabia S2000 +1:32.2
7 15 Toni Gardemeister TGS Skoda Fabia S2000 +1:45.5
8 1 Luca Rossetti National Proklama Fiat Grande Punto +1:54.5
9 7 Michal Solowow Cersanit Ford Fiesta S2000 +2:00.0
10 25 Karl Kruuda ME3 Skoda Fabia S2000 +2:05.2

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