Despite overwhelming competition the Interwetten Racing Team is on a good way at the "Ypres Rally" in Belgium at their third IRC start Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel lie in good 14th overall place after three special stages as second-best ...
Despite overwhelming competition the Interwetten Racing Team is on a good way at the "Ypres Rally" in Belgium at their third IRC start
Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel lie in good 14th overall place after three special stages as second-best Non-S2000-car
Today, Friday evening, the "Ypres Rally" in Belgium, as part of the "International Rally Challenge (IRC)", commenced punctually at 17.30 on the town square in Ypres. 70 cars overall took up the rally, among them nineteen S2000 vehicles as well as four Mitsubishi Evo X, two Subaru Impreza and seven Mitsubishi Evo IX, including Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The rain, hoped for by the two Austrians, didn't come, at least during the first three special stages where the surface remained absolutely dry.
The first, 22,57 km long, special stage in Mesen immediately had a big surprise in store. The great Belgian and favourite No 1, Francois Duval (Skoda S2000), took off in the first turn already and had to retire. In the end, IRC leader Kris Meeke was successful ahead of his Peugeot S2000 brandmate Freddy Loix, followed by third-placed Czech Jan Kopecky (Skoda S2000). As expected, Belgian Ypres-specialist Jasper van der Heuvel (Mitsubishi Evo X) was the fastest Non-S2000-driver as tenth, followed by countryman Stephane Lhonnay (Evo IX) in 14th place and in 16th place as third-best Non-S2000-car on Mitsubishi Evo IX by the Interwetten Racing duo Franz Wittmann/ Bernhard Ettel.
The second special stage, Hollebeke, with 26,65 km was even longer. Here Loix prevailed over Kopecky and Meeks. Fastest of the Non-S2000-drivers was once again van den Heuvel (Mitsu Evo X), this time in front of Wittmann/Ettel on Evo IX, who even had to deal with a tyre failure during the last kilometre.
SS 3 was once more won by Loix ahead of Kopecky and Meeke. Van den Heuvel also once again finished as best Non-S2000-driver as 13th. Wittmann came in behind two Belgians on Evo IX as overall 19th but lies in excellent 14th intermediate place in the overall ranking and is therefore second-best Non- S2000-driver.
"I can be quite satisfied with this beginning. The S2000 and, of course, the Mitsubishi Evo X of Japser van der Heuvel are of no concern to me. But the fact that I, as an absolute newcomer, was able to break away somewhat from the other Belgian Ypres-specialists like Lhonnay and Lietaer, who know each centimetre of the course, makes me a bit confident", explained the Austrian in the first regrouping.