WRC crews will be facing brand new tarmac challenge once again this year. Ypres Rally will debut in the WRC calendar after last year’s cancellation. Narrow roads with a lot of junctions and big cuts. That is the main characteristic of stages. It will be disadvantageous to start further back as every car will be pulling some dirt on the road from deep cuts. Who will be the favorit? And from whom we do not expect too much? Lets see in our preview.
There is no doubt who is the biggest favorit. Local hero Neuville will know the stages definitely very well and as the only one on Ypres started with a WRC car. We also should not forget about his last tarmac rally in Croatia. Where he lost victory only because of one bad tyre choice. If he will stay out of trouble biggest favorite is very clear.
Sebastien won the last three tarmac rounds. He looks really confident in his Toyota on tarmac. Ypres will also be a new rally where pace notes might be crucial. And that suits Seb very well. But he does not need to win. He needs to be in front of Elfyn, who is his main rival in the championship battle.
If Elfyn wants to keep his chances to keep championship hopes aleve he needs to beat Ogier. It’s time. He has nothing to lose. And he can be very strong. Just remember the last tarmac round in Croatia where he lost his victory by less than second.
Irishman has a good experience from the Ypres rally. He started multiple times there and he won the last Ypres Rally in 2019. But the biggest question mark is his speed in i20 on tarmac. In Croatia he simply could not get to the rhythm and this could easily be the case on Ypres.
He crashed on the last tarmac rally in Croatia. And quite heavily. But until that moment he was really fast. If he will show similar pace like in Croatia and will avoid mistakes he can easily find himself on the podium.
We do not expect a lot from Ott at the Ypres Rally. Firstly he still does not feel 100% confident on tarmac in his i20. And basically all drivers except Neuville struggle in i20 on tarmac. But if feeling will be there he for sure can be very competitive.
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Ⓒphoto – facebook Ypres Rally