After being announced in the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship for the first time earlier this month, Renties Ypres Rally Belgium organisers today (Monday) confirmed the event’s date as 13 - 15 August.
The asphalt rally replaces the proposed fixture in Northern Ireland, which was deferred for this year due to uncertainty over public funding relative to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Belgium will become the 35th nation to stage a WRC round and the rally will feature three days of competition, based around an atmospheric service park in Ypres’ historic Grote Markt.
Jan Huyghe, from event promoter Club Superstage, said: “For us as an organisation it is a great date, as for many people it is a long weekend and we fall in the middle of the school holidays.
“Moreover, this date is also ideal for the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, where two weeks later the GP Formula 1 is on the programme.”
Diego Desmadryl, Alderman for Economy, SMEs, Tourism and Events for Ypres, said the mid-August date was a huge boost for the city after Belgium’s scheduled WRC debut last November was cancelled due to Covid-19.
“When we were forced to cancel the 2020 edition in October last year due to the health crisis, it was a serious blow. We are very happy and proud that we will have the opportunity to receive the FIA World Rally Championship in our city,” he added.
“It took some organising to find a suitable date, but after consultation with all parties, we arrived on the weekend of August 13 - 15. This is a huge boost for tourism because it puts Ypres in the international spotlight.
“Last year, reservations for overnight stays poured in en masse and that will undoubtedly be more so this year with this date in full summer,” he added.