For the very first time, Belgium is hosting a round of the FIA World Rally Championship. ŠKODA Belgium took the opportunity to support the event as one of the main sponsors. Not by coincidence, the Czech brand is also strongly represented in the group of Rally2 cars. In WRC3 alone, ten of in total 19 competitors count on the competition version of the ŠKODA FABIA. Among them are strong local crews, who take the chance of their home event to shine on WRC level.
The group of Belgian ŠKODA drivers is led by Adrian Fernémont, Sébastien Bedoret and Ghislain de Mevius. Fernémont drove a Ecurie New Racing ŠKODA FABIA to the title in the Belgium Rally Championship 2019. That year, Bedoret finished third in a similar car. While due to COVID-19 the 2020 Belgian championship was cut short to two events only, the WRC rally in Ypres this year also counts towards the national series. The season opening event, the South Belgium Rally, finished with a ŠKODA 1-2 with Icepol Racing Team’s Ghislain de Mevius winning ahead of Adrian Fernémont.
The competitors of the support championships WRC2 and WRC3 can bring only six results from twelve WRC rounds into their overall score, Thus, WRC2 regulars Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) and Marco Bulacia (BOL) of ŠKODA Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT as well as ŠKODA privateer and WRC3 runner-up Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL) take a planned break from competition. Highest ranking ŠKODA crew on the WRC3 entry list are Pepe López and co-driver Borja Odriozola of Rally Team Spain, currently fifth overall in the category.
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium runs over narrow and bumpy tarmac roads and farm tracks lined by drainage ditches and telegraph poles, which ask for a precise racing line. Fast sections and rhythm changes with tight junctions add to the challenge. Due to excessive corner cutting, the asphalt is often deeply covered with gravel and sand, in case of rain even with mud, which makes the stages quite unpredictable. The rally, featuring 20 special stages totalling 310.92 kilometres, starts on Friday (13 August). The service park is hosted by the village of Ypres. The finish welcomes the winner on Sunday (15 August) at the legendary race track of Spa-Francorchamps.
Did you know, that…
…the event was formerly known as Ypres Rally, was first held in 1965, has a big history in the national championship and was until 2016 a round of the FIA European Rally Championship?
…the event, now under the name of Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, is part of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for the first time?
…this classifies Belgium as the 35th nation to host a WRC event?
…with eleven victories Belgian Freddy Loix is the record winner of Rally Ypres, taking six of his wins in a ŠKODA?
Championship Standings WRC2/Drivers (before Renties Ypres Rally Belgium)
1. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 98 points
2. Mads Østberg (NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, 87 points
3. Marco Bulacia (BOL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 82 points
Top-3 overall WRC2/Teams (before Renties Ypres Rally Belgium)
1. Toksport WRT (ŠKODA), 168 points
2. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, 131 points
3. Movisport, 125 points
Championship Standings WRC3/Drivers (before Renties Ypres Rally Belgium)
1. Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 98 points
2. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 82 points
3. Nicolas Ciamin (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 57 points
4. Fabrizio Zaldivar (PRG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 39 points
5. Pepe López (ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 36 points
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
Arctic Rally Finland powered by CapitalBox 25 – 28 February
Rally Croatia 22 – 25 April
Vodafone Rally Portugal 20 – 23 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 3 – 6 June
Safari Rally Kenya 24 – 27 June
Rally Estonia 15 – 18 July
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium 13 – 15 August
Rally Acropolis Greece 9 – 12 September
Rally Finland 1 – 3 October
RallyRACC Rally de España 14 – 17 October
Rally Japan 11 –14 November