YPRES: ERC GO­ING BACK­WARDS Ypres Rally: The com­peti­tors to watch

Bel­gian event’s fu­ture in the Euro­pean se­ries is in doubt be­yond 2016

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By David Evans David Evans

The or­gan­is­ers of the Ypres Rally could walk out of the Euro­pean Rally Cham­pi­onship next sea­son – feel­ing the se­ries is go­ing “back­wards.”

The Bel­gian clas­sic re­mains one of the jew­els in the crown of Euro­pean ral­ly­ing, but rally man­ager Alain Pe­nasse says he’s dis­ap­pointed at the en­try for this week’s event and the lo­gis­ti­cal im­pli­ca­tions of the cal­en­dar. If there’s not an im­prove­ment in both next year, the event is ready to step away from the FIA re­gional se­ries.

Pe­nasse told MN: “We are quite dis­ap­pointed about the ERC, this is go­ing back­wards and back­wards and back­wards. You have a lot of com­peti­tors at an am­a­teur level that’s quite good, but there’s no lead­ing teams any­more. Peo­ple had a huge in­ter­est in the IRC when it was there. There was so much com­pe­ti­tion in that cham­pi­onship, but now you see it’s only two boys play­ing the cham­pi­onship. It’s dis­ap­point­ing.”

Three of the first four rounds of this year’s ERC have run on is­lands and Pe­nasse says that’s not help­ing the event or the com­peti­tors.

“Look at the coun­tries,” said Pe­nasse. “They are not the cheap­est ones – there are a lot of is­lands in there and, yes, the or­gan­is­ers give good sup­port for this, but it’s the man­power you have to run in the ERC. If you do Gran Ca­naria, it takes one or two me­chan­ics away for three weeks and your car is also away for this long. We have the same prob­lem with Azores: by the time the cars are back, it’s al­ready too late for Ypres. It’s never help­ing and we have to think and re­mem­ber these guys are pri­va­teers. It doesn’t help that the events aren’t re­ally in a log­i­cal or­der.”

Asked about the fu­ture for Ypres in the ERC, Pe­nasse added: “We have to look how it goes next year and what is there – we need two teams com­ing back, we need Skoda Mo­tor­sport and Peu­geot Sport com­ing back. If we do that, then these teams will bring more en­tries.”

ERC of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing Pe­nasse’s com­ments, but pre­fer to save their thoughts for next week’s Mo­tor­sport News.

Bel­gian event wants more teams Alain Pe­nasse Le­feb­vre

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