Patrick Snijers seizes his chance Patrick Snijers, who was selected to represent the BFGoodrich Drivers Team on this weekend's Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally, ended his home event in fifth place overall at the wheel of his Peugeot 207 S2000. The...
Patrick Snijers seizes his chance
Patrick Snijers, who was selected to represent the BFGoodrich Drivers Team on this weekend's Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally, ended his home event in fifth place overall at the wheel of his Peugeot 207 S2000. The third phase of the 2008 BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation will be the Czech Republic's Barum Rally Zlin at the end of August.
After the recent Rally de Portugal, the Belgian round of the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the second port of call for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation which saw the drive go this time to none other than Partrick Snijers, the 1994 European Champion and seven-time Belgian Rally Champion.
For his 30th attempt at this event, which he has won four times, Patrick Snijers was given the opportunity to drive a Peugeot 207 S2000 tended by Kronos Racing and equipped with BFGoodrich tyres.
A test session organised just over a week before the start gave him a chance to familiarise himself with the car that won the 2007 IRC and also sample the different tyres available in BFGoodrich'sg- Force Profiler range. After that, Patrick and his co-driver Wim Soenens were more than ready for the fast if narrow Flemish stages which have forged the Ypres Rally's legend since1965.
Snijers posted times inside the top-eight on every one of Leg 1's six stages and was visibly pleased with his run on his return to the 'City of the Cats' on Friday evening. Going into the long final day, the BFGoodrich Drivers Team driver was effectively an excellent overnight fifth overall, a mere handful of seconds off a footing on the provisional podium and a personal 12th top-three finish in Ypres was now his main objective.
Saturday's long leg featured more than 200km of competitive action which produced a thrilling scrap between Snijers, fellow Belgian Bernd Casier, the 2006 winner Giandomenico Basso and last year's winner Luca Rossetti.
This four-cornered clash went all the way down to the wire and was decided on the 42.56km Heuvelland stage which ended at the foot of Flanders' highest peak,Mont Kemmel. Luca Rossetti came out of this marathon test in third place, but Patrick Snijers held on to fifth to secure an enviable overall result for BFGoodrich.
Patrick Snijers (BFGoodrich Drivers Team): It's been afantastic weekend and I would like to say a big thank you to all those who made it happen. I would have liked to have finished on the podium or win a stage, but you can't always have everything. I had a good fight which I think the spectators enjoyed. Thanks to BFGoodrich for giving me this opportunity and giving me the means to take the
fight to the best drivers of the IRC. My g-Force Profiler tyres were extremely competitive on this event, especially the soft compound A02 which performed faultlessly on the very long stage. Last but not least, fifth place here in Ypres has enabled me to take the lead in the 2008 Belgian Championship!"
Jacques Morelli, BFGoodrich's IRC Programme Manager: "The BFGoodrich Drivers Team is a resounding success. After Campos'eighth place in Portugal, which was unfortunately spoiled by a mechanical problem on the final road section, Patrick Snijers finished fifth this weekend after a quick, consistent drive at the wheel of a car that was completely new to him. Patrick soon got a feel for the range of BFGoodrich tyres we had in Belgium and he came within a whisker of finishing on the podium. That has every chance of happening next time out for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team in the Czech Republic!"
Marc Van Dalen, Manager, Kronos Racing: "It's been a great experience . Patrick was incredibly fast and, after just 100km of testing with the car, succeeded in mixing it with the top drivers of what is turning out to be a very fiercely contested championship. He was 100 per cent motivated, extremely professional in his approach and an outstanding example for the upcoming generation of drivers. Indeed, one of the BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation's missions is to find drivers who aretrue ambassadors for the sport, and Patrick is one of them. For Team Peugeot-Belux, which has invested a great deal in rallying, the result here in Ypres is superb. Freddy was in unbeatable form, Nicolas put in an extraordinary drive and everyone at Kronos Racing did a first class job on the cars. It was a genuine team result."