PEUGEOT 207 SUPER 2000 DRIVERS MONOPOLISE THE PODIUM Victory for Freddy Loix The third round of the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge saw Peugeot secure its third win of the season, as well as another all-Peugeot podium following its ...
PEUGEOT 207 SUPER 2000 DRIVERS MONOPOLISE THE PODIUM
Victory for Freddy Loix
The third round of the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge saw Peugeot secure its third win of the season, as well as another all-Peugeot podium following its monopoly of the top-three in Portugal just under two months ago. Local hero Freddy Loix topped the leaderboard for Peugeot Belgium-Luxemburg at the finish in Ypres, ahead of team-mate Nicolas Vouilloz and Peugeot Italy's Luca Rossetti in his similar 207 Super 2000.
Freddy Loix pushed home his local knowledge advantage to lead from flag to flag in Ypres: "My intention was to pull out as big a lead as possible from the start," explained the Belgian driver. "The early stages are the ideal moment for the locals to make the most of their understanding of the terrain. I pulled out a gap as quickly as I could and, when my cushion was big enough, I was able to control from in front. It was really a perfect weekend for me."
Freddy Loix's biggest threat on both days came from his own team-mate Nicolas Vouilloz who was second overall at the end of Day 1 before ending the event in the same position, despite a small off on the morning of the second leg: "I didn't get off to such a quick start as Freddy," admitted the Frenchman. "After that, when all went well, I was barely able to match his times, so I didn't attempt to catch him. Instead, I concentrated on pulling clear of those behind me. On SS10, a ditch on the inside of a corner dragged the front end of my car into the hollow and I lost a good minute as spectators manhandled my car back onto the road." The incident dropped Vouilloz to fourth but he bounced back in style and, four stages later, he succeeded in recovering second spot which he held to the finish: "It's great that Peugeot Belgium- Luxemburg has succeeded in scoring its first one-two finish. This result takes me closer to the top of the provisional IRC leaderboard, too. Freddy Loix fully deserved to win. On home ground, there was no beating him!"
Luca Rossetti finished in the wake of the two Kronos-prepared machines and the Italian's excellent run confirmed that his win in Ypres last year was no fluke. This time round, however, the Italian was delayed early on when he took a 10-second road penalty after being held up by the local police following a speeding infringement. He then punctured on Friday's final stage, losing a further 90 or so seconds. The second day saw him fight his way spectacularly back up through the field to fifth overall with just one stage remaining. An assertive fastest time on the final test enabled him to clinch a podium finish. This magnificent close-formation finish has allowed Peugeot to consolidate its lead at the top of the provisional IRC standings, while Rossetti is now just four points clear of Vouilloz.