Guino Kenis and Anton Dupan win after a fantastic final sprint
The third edition of the Ypres Historic Regularity remained extremely exciting until the last regularity stage. After all the favourites had issues or made mistakes, the battle for victory turned into an exciting duel between Piraux-Monard with their Renault 11 Turbo and Kenis-Dupan with their BMW 325i. In the final phase, the BMW dealer pushed on and won the race by a narrow margin of 16 seconds.
The opening night saw heavy rainfall where Kenis-Dupan slotted into 8th place overall. By Saturday afternoon they had already advanced to 2nd place just 10.3 seconds from Piraux-Monard. The Renault crew lost time on SS 23, setting themselves a further 9.3 seconds adrift. However, Kenis-Dupan won the last two RT's, providing them with a first win in Ypres.
"Yesterday we were surprised by a trap from the course designer. Bjorn, who is normally my regular navigator laughed too hard," said Guino, who was no longer surprised. On the muddy and wet track, Guino Kenis was able to exploit his rally experience perfectly.
For Anton Dupan, who was active in the Clio Trophy Belgium this season as Benoit Verlinde's codriver, it was his first victory in Ypres. "This is unbelievable. Today we were almost surprised, but luckily, I know Bjorn's tricks and I was just in time to discover the trap. It was my second rally together with Guino, after our participation in the Neige et Glace in 2020. In the beginning I had to get into the rhythm, but today it went great!"
Eric Piraux and Cathérine Monard, winners in Class 2, finished second in their Renault 11 Turbo. "We drove all day without looking too much at the standings, because the conditions were too difficult for that. We may have lacked some precision, but we are very satisfied. We are very happy with our podium finish."
Christophe Baillet with Pierre Colliard was awarded his first visit to Ypres with third place. Ypres. His reward was a third place. However, it might have been less than he had hoped. The 6-time winner of the Tour de Corse Historique VHRS said, "Oh well, we were caught twice by an organisational trap. That's the game. We had the speed and I enjoyed the difficult weather conditions. And, with Ypres I discovered a beautiful historic city."
Dominique Holvoet was fighting for a place on the podium but had to let Baillet pass in the final phase, after he lost time on RT 23 and on the penultimate test. "This was a really difficult edition. Saturday morning there were very large puddles, so you were just a passenger in the car that floated on the water. Unfortunately, you have no chance against that, even if you are fighting for every second. We had a good time and our Toyota MR2 performed well."
Fifth place eventually went to Patrick Van Remoortel with his unique Apal Coupé. It was a great achievement, that was accomplished with his young navigator Olivier Dupont. Van Remoortel drove a very consistent race, although he had a perilous moment when he hit Kurt Deklerck's Porsche 914/6 as he tried to pass him in the mud.
Kurt Vanderspins and the birthday boy Renaud Herman finished in 6th place with their Ford Cortina Lotus: "What weather conditions! We've had everything from snow to fog to sun, but a good sporting challenge."
Mario Varrewaere sent his Porsche to a seventh-place finish ahead of José Lareppe and Jennifer Hugo in their popular Opel Kadett. The Top 10 was closed out by Geert and Cédric De Jaeger in their Porsche and Eddy Snaet and Filip Deplancke, who had started the final day in the lead. "The Top 10 was our goal. Of-course you are a bit disappointed when you start the second stage as leader and you drop back, but in this field a 10th place is a very nice result."
The great challenge was apparent when looking at the leader board. One could have thought many top drivers would have been further up the rankings. Just think of Yves Deflandre, winner of the first edition, who missed a check on Friday evening and lost his way. Then there is Johnny Delhez, winner of the Lavano Award for the spectacle delivered, but had a very unfortunate day. He drove almost the entire final day with faulty windscreen wipers. Meanwhile, Kurt Deklerck and Aswin Pyck lost their top 5 from Friday night after sliding in the mud with their Porsche 914/6.
With snow, almost continuous rain, tons of mud on the line, it was a particularly treacherous third edition of the Ypres Historic Regularity. A shortened "light" edition, but one with tradition, a top sporting pedigree and that was challenging for man and machine.
Snaet-Deplancke take a surprising lead after the first leg
The opening night of the third Ypres Historic Regularity was held in soaking wet conditions. The high rhythm roads greeted the drivers, with a closed road stage in Boezinge and eight regularity stages in the Coast-Diksmuide region. The challenging conditions, rain and the dark of the night made it was a treacherous opening night. A few top drivers were surprised, resulting in a surprising lead for Eddy Snaet and Filip Deplancke in their Porsche 911.
Yves Deflandre misses a check point
Yves Deflandre, winner of the first edition of the Ypres Historic Regularity, will surely not be in the running for a second victory in Ypres. He was surprised at a dark intersection in the pouring rain on RT Slijpe: "The water fell from the sky in torrents. I had to take a street to the right, but the road also turned to the right, so that I just stayed on the main road. without ever having seen the side road. We got back on the track, but with a 10-minute penalty, our game is over..."
Michel Decremer surprised
Michel Decremer, last year's winner, was also surprised by a dead end in Gistel (RT 5). "A trap from the organisation and we fell into it. We realised we should have taken the side street. Our pursuers saw us approaching in the opposite direction, so they realised that it was a trap. Too bad there were some time controls over next kilometre." Decremer will have to fight back from 25th place.
Geert and Cédric De Jaeger also lost a lot of time, but mainly due to malfunctioning sensors, while Guino Kenis and Anton Dupan were also surprised by a trap on RT3 Eggewaertskapelle, but the damage was limited. Kenis-Dupan are in 8th place.
Leader after the opening day is Eddy Snaet, navigated by Filip Deplancke, who did not get caught out. The leading group is very close together, because Dominique Holvoet and Yannick Albert are just 1.5 seconds behind with their Toyota MR2: "We have completed an excellent stage. It was wet, but our MR2 has a lot of traction as it is mid-engine. I know the Diksmuide region well, from the VAS rallies we used to drive there, although I don't have the best memories of that. I once had a moment..."
Third place goes to Eric Piraux and Cathérine Monard with their well-known Renault 11 Turbo. They lost some time due to a less-than-good calibration of the tripmaster. Patrick Van Remoortel and Olivier Dupont follow in a nice and unexpected fourth place with their Apal Coupé: "Certainly unexpected, because I have a problem with my eyes in the dark. Fortunately, Olivier has good eyes and we were able to avoid the traps, but the rhythm could be better. I feel better in daylight, so tomorrow we will try to hold on."
Kurt Deklerck and Aswin Pyck are in 5th place with their Porsche 914/6 after a great opening night: "Yes, we were not surprised. Aswin knows the region well and that gave us a lot of confidence!"
Christophe Baillet and Christophe Colliard started as favourites, but the 6-time winner of the Tour de Corse Historique VHRS was also surprised by the... dead-end. "I've never been to Ypres before and the beautiful historic Markt is fantastic as a backdrop for a closed car park," said the Frenchman from Nancy. "The rain made the course extra difficult. We started well, but that mistake cost us a lot of time. But, if we use three jokers, I have to overtake for about half a minute. Everything remains possible..."
By the way, there is no shortage of stories from the rest of the field. For example, the Irish James O'Mahony and Frank Hussey pushed their Volvo into a deep canal full of water. The crew was uninjured and the Swedish car was towed, but a restart is not possible. Mirko Savic turned some spectacular donuts on the smooth cobblestones on the Markt in Ypres, as the rally drivers used to do. "I couldn't resist. How often are you with your Porsche in such a historic closed field," Mirko laughed.
There were less cheerful faces with Jean-Christophe Henderickx and Isabelle Goeminne. They had problems with their Alfa Romeo GT1300 Junior all evening: "We ran out of power after 3 RTs. We had to choose between the windscreen wipers or the headlights. We just couldn't use the spotlights. Sometimes I let another participant pass to get into his car. I would drive in his wake because I couldn't see anything else. Isabelle even wanted to stop, but we made it to the end of the stage. Hopefully we'll find a solution so we can have fun tomorrow..."
The second stage promises to be very exciting, because Christophe Baillet does not give up yet. The field is tight as far down as the 12th in the standings, Dirk Van Rompuy, is still within a minute of the lead. With 17 more RT's on the schedule and possible snow on the road, it's definitely not over yet...
Even sportier and more authentic!
After two successful editions of the Ypres Historic Regularity, Club Superstage is preparing the third edition. The 2021 edition will be held from 26 to 28 November after a forced one year break. The competitors will look to replicate the success of Yves Deflandre-Yves Noelanders and Ruben Maes-Michel Périn who won the first two Ypres Historic Regularities. The organization has done everything to make this third edition even more beautiful, authentic and sporty.
The good news is that this year's participants in the Ypres Historic Regularity will enjoy the beautiful backdrop of the Grote Markt in Ypres, the same place that the factory teams of the World Rally Championship occupied just a few months ago. For the first time, the podium of the Ypres Historic Regularity will be set up on the Markt, where the closed vehicle fleet will also be located. All the classics nicely aligned with the historic facades and the Cloth Hall as a backdrop, it will produce beautiful images, just like in the early years of the Rally of Ypres.
The race will test the crews for about 800 kilometres with regularity sections, some closed road stages and connecting stages. It will start on Friday 26 November at 18:00 and the first stage will end at 23:00. On Saturday the second stage will follow from 08:30, with the finish around 18:30, so that all participants can still enjoy a nice dinner in Ypres. The final stage will start on Sunday 28 November at 07:00 and the race will end at 13:00, followed by a convivial closing party in the unique historical setting of the Museum Café in the Cloth Hall, where the award ceremony will also take place.
However, on Sunday a new challenge awaits the participants. They will have to negotiate a new closed regularity stage of just under 3 kilometres. The route uses a large part of the former special stage "Sint-Mariastraat" from the Rally van Ploegsteert, a rally that enjoyed international renown in the late 1970s. A test on a smooth and narrow road, lined with deep moats. It will be a challenge for the participants to maintain the pace from start to finish on this technical regularity stage.
As far as the participants are concerned, the well-known Belgian regularity rally drivers will receive feedback from international stars for the occasion. Frenchman Christophe Baillet, 6-time winner of the Tour de Corse Historique VHRS and recent winner of the Portugal Historico 2021, will be at the start of the Ypres Historic Regularity for the first time.
It promises to be another top edition from 26-28 November, 2021.
--- 2021 OFFICIAL PROGRAM ---
The perfect mix between sportmanship and relaxation!
To refer to and reinforce the first edition of the Rally of Ypres the first leg will take place on Friday 26th November at 18.00hrs and will only finish on ... Saturday 27th November at 18.30hrs! Nonetheless there will be a short 6-hour night break whereby the teams can call on their hotel rooms. After the finish of this long leg we make way for some relaxation at one of Ypres' heated terraces and the winterbar party prior to tackling the third competition day on Sunday 28th November as from 07.00hrs. The arrival over the podium on Ypres' Grote Markt is scheduled around 12.00hrs. The perfect mix between sportsmanship and relaxation!