Ypres: Tanak,Bouffier,Lefebvre,Lukyanuk

Ypres: Tanak,Bouffier,Lefebvre,LukyanukFrom Rally Ypres [ 09/06/2016 ].
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A few days ago the KENOTEK Ypres Rally still seemed to become a more Belgian affair, but now the foreign crews have taken up the gauntlet and head for the Belgian round of the European Rally Championship off to a fantastic edition. If Freddy Loix figured to spend a relaxing weekend in Flanders he will have to revise his plans. The record holder will have to strip his sleeves to make a bid for an 11th victory.

The KENOTEK Ypres Rally makes its reputation as a top match in the European championship again and double thick true. Thirty drivers come to the start with a competitive R5 car. The surprise on the bill is Ott Tanak, the Estonian who defends the colours of Ford and DMack in the World Championship. Tanak comes to the start with a Ford Fiesta R5 Evo to test new Dmack tyres, but also to hone his speed on asphalt. The 28-year-old Estonian will need to be sharp, because there are also two top stars from France.

Starting with Stéphane Lefebvre, the young Nordist has Ypres close enough as his home rally and is to start with a DS 3 R5. Last year Stéphane had the speed to play for the win, but the car did not and a time-consuming puncture saw him finish in 5th place. Bryan Bouffier, last year second behind Freddy Loix, also comes back to the start with a quick DS 3 R5. Bouffier is always a candidate for the podium in Ypres.

And what about Alexey Lukyanuk, last year's discovery of the European championship. The 35-year-old Russian is second in the standings of the ERC and has the guts to take on the challenge on Belgian soil with his Ford Fiesta R5. A challenge for Alexey, who proved with a victory on the last ERC round 2015, Rallye du Valais, as well as on the first ERC round this year in Canarias, that he could not only win on gravel.

Or could the biggest opposition for Freddy Loix still come from Belgium? Melissa Debackere proved with a 2nd place in the recent ORC Rally that she does not need much time to get on well with her new Skoda Fabia R5. Last weekend the eight-time Belgian Rally Champion Pieter Tsjoen gained first knowledge of his brand new Ford Fiesta R5 Evo. During an extensive testing day Tsjoen worked more than 200 km with his Fiesta. "I'm impressed. The R5 are evolved tremendously in a short time. We have been working on the adjustments and I wanted to feel good on the brakes. We will have a lot of fun in Ypres," Peter laughed.

And, certainly keep an eye on the website www.ypresrally.com, because it will be a busy time with some other big names coming up...