The fight continues at the top as the first loop of the Ardeca Ypres Rally ends with the 8.95km Langemark stage.
Elfyn Evans (Toyota) set the best time of a 4:13.5 to extend his overall lead to 2.5 seconds over Ott Tänak (Hyundai). In the stage, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) was second with a time of 4:15.0, just ahead of Tänak.
The rain then started for Craig Breen (Ford) who lost four seconds in the last 2.5km of the stage, possibly because of the changing weather conditions.
Esapekka Lappi (Toyota) was able to get through the stage, losing 4.7 seconds but the other Ford crews of Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux and Oliver Solberg (Hyundai) were subjected to heavy rain and worsening road conditions.
Greensmith lost 30.2 seconds on the stage winner, Solberg losing 43.9 seconds, while Fourmaux lost more than a minute to fall from fourth to eighth in the standings.
After his mechanical problems on SS3, Takamoto Katsuta completed the stage but was stuck in third gear, also using the electrical mode on his car to assist. He competed the stage in 6:30.8, losing more than two minutes.
SS4 – Top 5
- Evans/Martin (Toyota) 4:13.5
- Neuville/Wydaeghe (Hyundai) 4:15.0 +1.5
- Tänak/Järveoja (Hyundai) 4:15.2 +1.7
- Lappi/Ferm (Toyota) 4:18.2 +4.7
- Breen/Nagel (Ford) 4:20.0 +6.5
Overall – Top 5
- Evans/Martin (Toyota) 24:55.7
- Tänak/Järveoja (Hyundai) 24:58.0 +2.3
- Neuville/Wydaeghe (Hyundai) 25:04.5 +8.8
- Lappi/Ferm (Toyota) 25:16.9 +21.2
- Breen/Nagel (Ford) 25:21.1 +25.4
Friday – Leg 1
Friday, 19/08/2022, 13:01
Conditions: changeable, overcast. 23 degrees.
Car #11 T.Neuville – M.Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1)
It feels so much different compared to last year. I struggle to find the confidence. We will work a bit on the setup now and see what we can do for the afternoon loop.
Car #33 E.Evans – S.Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)
It was an ok stage and finding a balance between pushing and being clean. But it is still early days.
Car #18 T.Katsuta – A.Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)
We could not fix the issue from last stage but we were able to move forward and get to the end of the stage.
Car #42 C.Breen – P.Nagle (Ford Puma Rally1)
For sure the rain affected us. About half way through the rain started to fall heavily. But the car wasn’t nice but we have a bit of work to do.
Car #4 E.Lappi – J.Ferm (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)
For sure, when you need to put the wipers flat out, it doesn’t give you confidence on the grip but it wasn’t too bad. We will go to surface and try to improve the car.
Car #44 G.Greensmith – J.Andersson (Ford Puma Rally1)
The organisers are changing their mind with the gaps. I saw EP go in the dry and then it started to hammer it down.
Car #2 O.Solberg – E.Edmondson (Hyundai i20 N Rally1)
I was sitting on the start line and the rain came. The windscreen wipers are so slow that I didn’t see anything and at times it was like ice out there.
Car #16 A.Fourmaux – A.Coria (Ford Puma Rally1)
I think it is always the same, it was the same in Finland and Estonia, we get the rain at the end. With the three hard and the rain, it was the slipperiest stage. All the hard work this morning is gone.
Car #20 A.Mikkelsen – T.Eriksen (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo)
We took it very steady. It is still early in the race and we had a good tyre choice in this one but maybe I didn’t take advantage of it here but it is a long rally and I don’t to end in the ditch.