Loix on brink of Ypres win

Freddy Loix looks certain of Ypres Rally victory as Jan Kopecky's brief bid to catch him on the penultimate loop fizzled out

Loix on brink of Ypres win

The two Skodas left service just under half a minute apart with six stages to go this evening, and Kopecky picked up his pace following a set-up change and immediately trimmed Loix's lead to 25.1 seconds on the Proven-Vleteren stage.

But on the following Watou stage Kopecky had a quick excursion off the road and lost a few seconds, effectively ending his realistic chance of catching Loix on pure pace.

The leader had a scare of his own on Watou when he encountered a motorbike, but he regained his composure and got his lead back up to 29.9s by the end of the loop.

"We still have a few tricky stages to go," said Loix. "But what more can I do? I am controlling it, not pushing too hard."

Thierry Neuville and Bernd Casier continue to run third and fourth, despite Neuville damaging a wheel on the last corner of SS16, giving Belgium three drivers in the top four.

Fifth-placed Andreas Mikkelsen felt he made a set-up breakthrough with his Ford at service, but admitted it was too late for him to have a shot at catching Casier.

But Bruno Magalhaes, who lost a lot of time to gearbox problems in the first half of the rally, is mounting a final loop charge to try and claim sixth from four-time rally winner Patrick Snijers, having now passed Michal Solowow for seventh.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Freddy Loix Skoda 2h04m42.0s 2. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 29.9s 3. Thierry Neuville Peugeot + 1m55.0s 4. Bernd Casier Skoda + 3m29.0s 5. Andreas Mikkelsen Ford + 4m21.3s 6. Patrick Snijers Peugeot + 4m55.6s 7. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot + 5m17.7s 8. Michal Solowow Ford + 5m29.1s 9. Luca Betti Peugeot + 6m27.2s 10. Alexandre Romain Mitsubishi + 8m30.5s 
Loix cruising in Belgium

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