The Ypres Historic Rally has a fearsome reputation as a car breaker and the 2019 event proved to be just that, with many of the EHSRC front runners falling by the wayside on Day 2.
Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner, the overall winners in Asturias last month, retired when the category 3 Porsche 911 SC suffered an unspecified mechanical issue. Antonio Sainz and Javier Cattaneo also had to retire when mechanical woes hit the Subaru Legacy after completing 7 stages, as did their fellow Spaniards Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera after stage 5.
In category 1 it was the two front running Ford Escorts which suffered bad luck in Belgium. The no241 Ford Escort Twin Cam of overnight leaders Ernie and Karen Graham suffered a gearbox failure on stage 10. This put the German crew of Heiko Dlugos and Tim Rauber into the category lead, but only for another two stages when the Ford Escort went off the road on stage 12 and ended up in a ditch blocking the stage. The crew were fine but their rally was over and they were forced to retire.
The two Hungarian Alfa Romeos also went out of the rally on Day 2 with Laszlo Mekler and Edit Mekler Miko retiring after stage 9, while Zoltan Sardi and Rita Sardine Zalatnay retired earlier in the day after stage 6.
CATEGORY 1: After the demise of the two Fords, the no234 Porsche 911 S of Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo took the category 1 win, their second of the 2019 season. The Italian crew finished 1m49.9 seconds ahead of compatriots Carlo Fiorito and Roberto Barbero in the no244 BMW 2002 Ti.
CATEGORY 2: Belgium’s Carlo Mylle and Steven Vyncke claimed their first EHSRC win of the 2019 season in the category 2 no228 Porsche 911 RSR, finishing the day over 3 minutes ahead of Anders and Ingrid Johnsen in the no208 Porsche 911 RSR. The Swedes had been leading overnight and continued to lead the way on the first three stages of Day 2 but on stage 7 they lost over 60 seconds to the Belgian Porsche, with Mylle and Vyncke taking the lead until the end of the final stage.
CATEGORY 3: After suffering gearbox issues on Day 1 the no210 Audi Quattro bounced back on Day 2 with ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno overhauling the Belgian no217 Porsche 911 SC of Piet Declerq and Dieter Denys to claim their first category win of the 2019 season. The Italians finished 54 seconds ahead of their Belgian rivals, with the no214 Porsche 911 SC of Finland’s Pentti Veikkanen and Timo Jaakkola finishing third five minutes behind the lead Audi.
CATEGORY 4: With the no203 Lancia taking the EHSRC championship points behind the Belgian winners on the no219 BMW M3, the third and fourth places on the Ypres Historic Rally were also filled by local crews. The second placed EHSRC crew was the no205 BMW M3 crew of Valter Jensen and Erik Pederson, the reigning champions finishing 5 minutes 37 seconds behind in 5th overall, with third place in the EHSRC Category 4 standings going to Tim and Steve Jones in the no227 Ford Sierra Cosworth.
After celebrating on the overall podium with her co-driver, Fabrizia Pons spoke about their scoring maximum points on their Ypres Historic Rally debut. “It was a very difficult rally. This is our first time here and it is very different from other rallies we have competed on; it is very unique. And I have done a lot of races!
“The issue here is it is always flat, there are no uphills or downhills, you don’t have proper corners; you have junctions. If you know where these junctions are it is good, but as this is our first time here, it is so difficult. If we had more experience on this rally perhaps we could have fought for the lead, but it is not possible after doing these stages only once or twice.
“It is good to be back at the front after what happened in Asturias, it was terrible. But that wasn’t our problem. We are happy for the team, they did a great job once again. Now we head to Austria and it will be another new rally for us. I hope there will be some hills, we will see.”
Round 5 of the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship will be held in Austria, the Rallye Weiz in Styria, on the 18-20 July 2019.
CLICK HERE for the provisional result from the Ypres Historic Rally