With Rally Finland barely over this Sunday, it will be time to think about the next meeting in Ypres where reconnaissance of the 20 specials (ten different including the Power Stage at Kemmelberg) will begin nine days later.
We find a “classic” division of the World Cup with three stages around Ypres (we will therefore no longer cross Belgium), no night special and a full day on Friday after the shake-down on Thursday from 4 p.m. in Nieuwkerke.
On the side of the field, nothing but classic too with a small problem all the same since there will only be ten new WRC1 hybrids. Sébastien Ogier was obviously not seduced by the specificity of the Belgian course and will still leave his place on the Toyota Yaris to Esapekka Lappi. No Sébastien Loeb either unfortunately at Ford where M-Sport will only field three Pumas (against five in Finland). This means that Pierre-Louis Loubet will therefore not be in the game. No more than Jourdan Serderidis preferring to prepare well for his next round at home, the Acropolis.
Let’s hope for the Belgian public that Thierry Neuville has the means to defend his title at home against Rovanpera, Evans, Breen or Tanak.
On the other hand, the line-up is sumptuous in WRC2 with no less than thirty-seven Rally2 from the World Cup but also from the BRC. Five brands are represented with a VW Polo for local hero Vincent Verschueren, two good Fiestas for Jari Huttunen (two weeks after his WRC1 debut) and Bernd Casier, the Hyundai i20N BMAs of Grégoire Munster and Pieter-Jan Michael Cracco, but above all a slew of Skoda (with current World Cup leader Andreas Mikkelsen, Nikolay Gryazin, Marco Bulacia, Chris Ingram and our compatriots Gino Aux, Sébastien Bédoret, Niels Reynvoet and Freddy Loix) and Citroën C3 with Belgian championship leader Stéphane Lefèbvre , his compatriot Johan Rossel, the father of F1 world champion Jos Verstappen, but also the Belgians Davy Vanneste and Maxime Potty.
In addition to Patrick Snijers (Ford Fiesta RC3), we will also see a lot of good big drives with the Porsches of Tim Van Parijs, Gunther Monnens and Glenn Janssens, the BMW M3 of Bjorn Six or an Alpine A110 for the star of the Westhoek Paul Lietaer.
With around thirty national competitors, 117 crews are officially entered. Remember that for the three days of the show, tickets are sold at the price of 99 euros, a little more expensive than the price of the paddock at the 24 Hours of Spa. But it’s not every day or even every year that WRC stars come to us.