Belgian fans are in for a treat at the end of this month when local hero and WRC title challenger Thierry Neuville drives a Hyundai i20 World Rally Car at the Ypres Rally (28 - 29 June).
It will be the first time a current generation World Rally Car has been driven in anger down the Belgian lanes. And it won’t just be Neuville’s Hyundai on show, M-Sport has confirmed Bryan Bouffier will drive a Ford Fiesta WRC as well.
Neuville is, of course, no stranger to the biggest rally in his homeland and won in an i20 R5 last year. This time, he fancied something a little different.
“After winning Ypres in the R5 car last year I wasn’t so interested to use that one again this time. Nicolas (co-driver Gilsoul) and I always say what would it be like to drive a World Rally Car in Ypres and now we have the opportunity to do this with no pressure in front of our fans,” he said.
The pair will lead an all-new section of the event. Labelled the Ypres Rally Masters, the class is designed to bring a wider variety of machinery to the fans, including Group A cars and stunning Formula 2 cars, which competed in the WRC in the late 1990s.
“We are doing this event just for the fans,” said Neuville. “We can’t say this will be a test for Germany or anything like that – the surface is completely different.”