I discovered Ypres back in 1998, with its condensed, super technical and so specific route. I was opening the road for David Loix et Cédric Pirotte… and I still was an amateur regarding pace notes!
Two decades later, it’s a great honor for Thierry and I to add our names to the winners’ list of Belgium’s most prestigious rally.
When Hyundai Belgium offered us to drive here in Ypres, we didn’t hesitate a single second. Especially since the make wanted us to do this for de Rode Neuzen Dag, a charity helping teenagers facing psychological problems.
And then… what a reception from our Belgian fans. We never expected such a fever… this brought so much joy in our hearts and what a great moral booster!
Even if everyone considered us as frontrunners, Ypres rally is not exactly a leisurely drive. The stages are so demanding and technical, you really need to stay focus. It was also a good way to get out our comfort zone for a week-end, since we swapped our WRC for an i20R5 from the BRC team.
From the first meters, we found the good rythme. We pushed hard and avoided all the tricks – unlike many other crews – to quickly take the lead and keep it till the end. It’s such a great pleasure to drive on these unique roads, to dive in the cuts and anticipate the surface changes… a proper challenge for a co-driver too!
But what really makes Ypres unique is its Parc fermé, quite possibly the most beautiful and most crowded in the world. The atmosphere is unique… the heart of the rally beats in this town.
Once again, thanks a million to our fans from Belgium and abroad for this amazing support, see you all in Finland!