Meeke Out, Neuville 3rd
Those who thought the start of this day would be slow got it very wrong
The GEKO Ypres Rally 2010 did not get started yet this morning or Bruno Magalhães (Peugeot 207 S2000) already saw himself pushed out of the top 10 due to the replacement of his greabox (1'10'' penalty for leaving the closed park too late). And things did not stop there as also Proven-Vleteren, the first stage, brings a few surprises
Pieter Tsjoen is the first to fall victim of the stage as he destroys his Peugeot. Driver and co-driver are OK but the car is out. Still some happy faces in the Peugeot camp as Kris Meeke sets the fastest time ahead of Freddy Loix (Skoda Fabia S2000) beating him by... 0"1. Unfortunately, their joy was only short lived as the man from Ireland rolled his car on the Watou stage (SS 8). Thierry Neuville (Peugeot) hence moves up one position and could well get a podium finish. This also means Freddy Loix sow has a commanding advance of 30 seconds and race tactics change. "It was a really great fight. Now we will have to manage this lead and this might make things more difficult as we have to drive in a more 'strategic' way".
One more important retirement: Jasper van den Heuvel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X). He retired after incurring some mechanical problems on SS8. That means Alexandre Romain takes command in Group N. He has a comfortable lead over second in rank Mathias Viaene (idem) who took a 50" penalty after checking in 5 minutes late for SS9 (due to a problem with the fuel leads).
Next up is a weighing session after the Kemmelberg-stage followed by a run through Ypres and another 4 stages.