Fly them flags high in Ypres as Craig Breen is watching you – plus other Irish competitors to watch in Belgium

Fly them flags high in Ypres as Craig Breen is watching you – plus other Irish competitors to watch in Belgium

Takamoto Katsuta/ Aaron Johnson Toyota Yaris RC1

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston come in this weekend’s Ypres Rally briming with confidence.

They finished sixth overall on Rally Finland in what was their strongest showing to-date on the fastest event on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar.

Katsuta, co-driven by Aaron Johnston, showed good and consistent pace through the first full day of the rally on Friday, and for the second year in a row claimed a stage win on the streets of his adopted hometown in the short Harju test.

His Finnish result was his seventh consecutive top-six finish, which ensured he remains one of only two drivers (alongside championship leader and team-mate Kalle Rovanperä) to have finished inside the points in every rally so far in 2022.

Craig Breen and Paul Nagle Ford Puma RC1

The Irish fans were out in Force in Finland earlier this month, but the crowd in Ypres Rally Belgium could surpass that.

During an end-of-stage interview in Finland Breen said he could see every Irish flag on the stage,

“I never seen so many Irish flags, Finland was something out of this world and I’ve been there enough times to know that. But if there’s more here again this weekend I will be all the happier and it will be great to see everyone out,” he told Kerry Motorsport News at the Ypres service park on Wednesday evening.

“This place is a happy hunting ground. I have some great memories here and always enjoy the rallies.

“It is a nice place to be, a nice atmosphere but the great that all the spectators are back this, it will be a good weekend.”  

Josh McErlean / James Fulton Hyundai i20 RC2

Josh McErlean will return to the asphalt as he tackles the Ardeca Ypres Rally [18-21 August] in Belgium.

The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver will head to the tricky sealed surface event fresh from a challenging Rally Finland which saw the progressive youngster take his Hyundai i20 Rally2 to a finish.

Despite finishing down the order due to some complications over the weekend, McErlean will head to Belgium in a re-invigorated mood despite just a short gap between the two events, thanks to securing a sensational result on the rally in 2021. His previous experience on the blisteringly fast countryside roads will come into play as he enters the next phase of his World Rally Championship campaign this season.

“I`m really excited to be heading onto the asphalt and for the first sealed surface WRC event of the year for us and there is no better place to do that than the Ypres Rally,” says McErlean.

“I have fond memories from last year where we finished in an incredible twelfth overall. That was a really special moment for me and what I learned from my Junior BRC days at the rally came into play, and that reaped rewards. Heading back for a second succussive year is a real confidence boost and I`m feeling positive heading into this one with the Rally2 car”.

Eamonn Boland Mickey Joe Morrisey Ford Fiesta RC2

The is Eamonn’s first time entering the Ypres Rally, and according to ERC stats it is all of 31 years since MJ last competed in Belgium when he was alongside the late EndA Nolan in a Ford Sierra Cosworth of the Tour of Flanders

Lok out for the crew in their FAB Hertz coloured Ford Fiesta RC2 car. J is rallying 50 years this year!

Niall O’Sullivan is expected to return in the National section – more on this when we catch upt with him tomorrow

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