Ogier: Spa-Francorchamps Ypres Rally finale will be "special"

Sebastien Ogier says it will be “special" to drive sections of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit as part of the climax to the first World Rally Championship edition of the Ypres Rally.

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The famous Belgian tarmac event has joined the WRC schedule for the first time this weekend adding to what has become a diverse 2021 calendar.

To close out the rally on Sunday, organisers have created two stages away from the rally’s base in Ypres, incorporating the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The move has divided opinion among competitors given the two-hour plus drive from Ypres, necessitating an early start to Sunday’s final leg.

However, seven-time WRC champion Ogier says it will provide a chance to complete a dream drive on the iconic circuit.

“It is not a super sexy profile but finishing at Spa will be special and it will bring some nice footage for the rally,” said Ogier.

“I have always had in the back of my head the dream to drive this track at Spa one day and that will be the first little discovery of it before hopefully some more fun in there.”

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The test, which will host Stages 17 and 19, enters the circuit area between Malmedy and Rivage corners. The the service road then follows the track inside it going backwards from Pouhon to Malmedy before entry onto the track for the last 2.7 km, ending at the Stavelot corner.

The stage that will host the Power Stage finale enters the circuit through a tunnel below the track and through service roads into the pitlane, in the opposite direction to reach the back of the grid.

It then proceeds along the circuit until halfway up Eau Rouge, where the stage takes a hairpin left outside the track for a short finish on the new Rallycross arena.

It is not the first time the WRC has incorporated a Formula 1 venue, as the championship utilised Italy’s Monza circuit for its hastily-arranged season finale due to a COVID-19-impacted campaign last year.

M-Sport Ford driver Adrien Fourmaux has likened Sunday’s stage to those seen at Monza.

“It is a bit like Monza with some mix. We have countryside stages and then we finish at the track which is a really famous circuit, and there is a Rallycross stage so it will be interesting,” said Fourmaux.

“If we have plenty of spectators I’m sure it will be fun but I prefer the countryside for sure.”

The Spa-Francorchamps stages will begin on Sunday at 06:30 GMT.

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