There have been some changes in the Ypres Rally rules this year, making the race more accessible. Ofcourse they had the cars of the known FIA classes allowed in the European Rally Championship. In addition, the race was open to the cars with a Belgian homologation too. As a result some Porsche 997s entered te race making it more interesting for Porsche aficionado’s.
In the first 3 stages we spotted 3 different winners. No Porsches in the first rankings unfortunately. Podiums for Ryan Bouffier (DS 3 R5), Vincent Verschueren (Skoda Fabia R5) and Stéphane Lefebvre (DS 3 R5), who started the race in 24th position after he went off the road in the qualifying stage. Freddy Loix ended the day in 3rd position.
Second part of the day was a tremendous battle between Bryan Bouffier and Freddy Loix, seperated by just seconds. First 5 positions in the ranking had a difference of only about 30 seconds. A promise for a great 2nd day in the rally. Jochen van Claerhout broke his watercooler, forcing him to abandon the stage in his Porsche 997. Tim Van Parijs, in another Porsche 997 leads the RGTN class with a minute for Marc Duez in another Porsche.
In the first part of the 2nd day, Ryan Bouffier had severe troubles with the differential of his car. Obviously a present for Freddy Loix who immediately took the lead in the rally. Tim van Parijs moves on the 15th place overall in the Porsche 997. A good start position for the afternoon, with stages at us Reninge, Watou andWestouter-Boeschepe.
Bad luck for Ryan Bouffier again, when his gearbox break down. Freddy Loix and Stéphane Lefèbvre battle for victory with the highest podium spot for Freddy Loix in the end. However, nothing but respect for the young french Stéphane Lefèbvre . In the GT-Class, Tim van Parijs was the only survivor in his Porsche. 22nd overall after he had to cope with a flat tire. The Porsches of Marc Duez and Jochen Claerhout didn’t make it to the finish.
The historic Rally had FIA and BHRC cars racing. So the FIA cars drove in the Las Vegas Ypres Historic Rally, the BRHC cars in the Geko Ypres Historic Rally. Even before the rally actually took off, there were some abandons. Engine problems forced the Porsches of Wim Decock and Roland Vandermeersch to stop after the shakedowns. Noteworthy were the problems for Stefan Stouf in the Porsche 911RSR , who doesn’t seem to get his engine running the way it should. Despite severe problems as his engine support broke, he managed to finish 3rd overall after Didier van Wijnsberghe and Paul Lietaer who was without any doubt the best of the Historic Race.
Ypres Rally 2016
Pictures : Wilfried Geerts