ERC: Skoda's Freddy Loix wins 10th Ypres as Breen, Bouffier falter

Veteran Belgian star Freddy Loix clinched a 10th Ypres Rally victory in a dramatic European Rally Championship round featuring incidents for Craig Breen, Bryan Bouffier, Kevin Abbring and Stephane Lefebvre

ERC: Skoda's Freddy Loix wins 10th Ypres as Breen, Bouffier falter

Factory Peugeot driver Breen had been in control for much of the classic event as he chased a fourth straight ERC win.

But a puncture delayed him on Saturday afternoon, handing the lead to Bouffier, and he then damaged his engine in a trip off the road on the next stage, forcing him out.

Bouffier's advantage was also shortlived as a puncture for the Citroen driver cost him several minutes soon after he had hit the front.

That elevated Loix into a comfortable lead, which he held through Saturday evening's final stages.

The former factory World Rally Championship driver was in his first event in Skoda's new R5 Fabia.

In addition to being his 10th Ypres win, 19 years after his first, the result marked the sixth time Loix had triumphed on his home event in the last eight editions.

Bouffier still finished second ahead of Vincent Verschueren.

Reigning ERC Junior champion Lefebvre was a victory contender - completing a top three covered by just 1.3s at one stage on Saturday afternoon following Breen's first delay - until delayed by a puncture of his own, leaving him fifth behind Bruno Magalhaes at the finish.

ERC returnee Abbring - now a works Hyundai WRC driver - crashed his Citroen on the first day.

LEADING FINISHERS AFTER SS17:

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Freddy Loix, J.Gitsels Skoda 2h22m29.9s
2 Bryan Bouffier, T.de la Haye Citroen 27.5s
3 Vincent Verschueren, V.Hostens Citroen 1m02.5s
4 Bruno Magalhaes, H.Magalhaes Peugeot 1m53.1s
5 Stephane Lefebvre, S.Prevot Peugeot 2m01.9s
6 Jaroslav Orsak, D.Smeidler Skoda 2m20.8s
7 Jaromir Tarabus, D.Trunkat Skoda 3m25.0s
8 Didier Duquesne, F.Cuvelier Ford 4m46.2s
9 Martin McCormack, J.O'Reilly Skoda 4m48.2s
10 Davy Vanneste, E.Snaet Ford 4m48.3s

LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Craig Breen 121
2 Kajetan Kajetanowicz 97
3 Robert Consani 55
4 Alexey Lukyanuk 43
5 Bruno Magalhaes 38
6 Freddy Loix 35
7 Jaromir Tarabus 34
8 Siim Plangi 28
9 Dominykas Butvilas 27
10 Ricardo Moura 26


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