Loix claims sixth Ypres victory

Freddy Loix clinched the sixth Ypres Rally win of his career with a masterful drive on a one-off return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge

Loix claims sixth Ypres victory

The former series regular was summoned by Skoda for his home event, and after early rival Kris Meeke crashed out, Loix cruised to a commanding victory ahead of his team-mate Jan Kopecky and Kronos Peugeot's rising Belgian star Thierry Neuville.

Juho Hanninen also had an accident, which allowed Kopecky to close to within three points of his team-mate at the head of the standings.

With a massive S2000 entry including guest stars Loix for Skoda and Stephane Sarrazin for Peugeot, plus the arrival of the MEM Protons with ex-Subaru World Rally Championship driver Chris Atkinson and former British champion Alister McRae, Ypres was tipped to be the most competitive IRC round since Monte Carlo.

But early attrition decimated the field - both works Protons and satellite driver Tom Cave all suffering engine failures on the opening evening, and Sarrazin crashing out on SS1.

Hanninen also went off on Friday while holding fourth, but by that time Loix and Meeke had already broken away at the head of the field.

Running five seconds apart and sometimes within a single tenth on stage times, there was nothing to choose between the pair. But their battle came to an early end when Meeke rolled into retirement on today's second stage.

That left Loix half a minute clear of Kopecky, who was happy to settle for second with both his main rivals out, and the two Skodas duly cruised through the rest of today's mammoth 13-stage, four-loop itinerary.

Rookie Neuville gave Peugeot something to smile about with a mature drive to third. Bernd Casier made it three Belgians in the top four - and it would have been four in the top five had Pieter Tsjoen not crashed on SS7.

Andreas Mikkelsen had a cautious run to fifth as he settled into his Ford Fiesta on asphalt, while local hero Patrick Snijers lost sixth when he retired on the final stage. That handed the place to Bruno Mahalhaes, who had mounted a determined comeback drive following early gearbox problems.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Freddy Loix Skoda 2h35m36.9s 2. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 21.4s 3. Thierry Neuville Peugeot + 2m05.5s 4. Bernd Casier Skoda + 4m01.6s 5. Andreas Mikkelsen Ford + 5m20.9s 6. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot + 6m06.2s 7. Michal Solowow Ford + 7m24.5s 8. Luca Betti Peugeot + 9m37.6s 9. Corrado Fontana Peugeot + 9m53.0s 10. Maciej Oleksowicz Ford + 10m39.0s 
Loix on brink of Ypres win
Previous article

Loix on brink of Ypres win

Next article

Wilks' return set for Czech round

Wilks' return set for Czech round
Load comments
Ireland deserves a WRC round Plus

Ireland deserves a WRC round

Drivers are in accordance: Ireland should be in the World Rally Championship. DAVID EVANS followed the Circuit of Ireland and was left with no doubt that the drivers are right

Apr 23, 2014
Kubica's rally to recovery Plus

Kubica's rally to recovery

Robert Kubica's rally speed is obviously there - in abundance - but he's got to stop crashing. Charles Bradley went to the Azores to get the lowdown on the ex-F1 star's comeback trail

May 3, 2013
Why Kubica can win on ERC debut Plus

Why Kubica can win on ERC debut

Former GP winner Robert Kubica makes his international comeback this week in the Canaries Rally. And David Evans reckons he'll win aboard a Citroen DS3 RRC

Mar 21, 2013
Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old Plus

Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old

As the IRC to ERC transformation takes effect in Austria, David Evans is excited that the IRC's promotional strengths will carry over - but still wishes the WRC could get some of that magic

Jan 3, 2013
Farewell IRC, long live ERC Plus

Farewell IRC, long live ERC

As the Intercontinental Rally Challenge prepares for its swansong in Cyprus, David Evans recalls the shortlived series' heyday - and looks ahead to its European successor

Nov 1, 2012
The 2011 IRC season review Plus

The 2011 IRC season review

The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season

Nov 22, 2011
Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally Plus

Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally

This year is the Monte Carlo Rally's centenary and, just as in recent years, there's no shortage of World Rally Championship stars turning up to give the IRC regulars a run for their money

Jan 18, 2011
The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010 Plus

The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010

The competition didn't run as deep as it might have, but there was plenty of fight at the front with six of our top 10 winning rallies during the season. Matt Beer puts them in order

Nov 29, 2010