For the first time in history, a round of the FIA World Rally Championship will be held in Belgium, so let's we delve into the Ypres Rally and find out a bit more about it.
As the final WRC round of 2021 – replacing the cancelled Rally Japan – Ypres Rally Belgium will run from November 19 to 22 with a three-day event being described as "utterly Belgian".
"It was a great honour to receive that request and we got to work straight away," said event board member Jan Huyghe.
"We have adapted the legs on Friday and Saturday with well-known special stages in Ypres to the format and timing of the World Championship. Each loop will feature five stages and will be completed twice.
"On the final day of the rally, we will visit another icon of Belgian motorsport, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with its mythical Raidillon section. The final day will feature two special stages in the vicinity of the circuit, in Ster and Malmedy, and a special stage using the F1 circuit.
"That stage will also be used as PowerStage. In total, the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium will present stages of approximately 300km against the clock.
"As we are now organising the rally in November, several stages will be completed in the dark, thus reconnecting this event with the glorious past of the Ypres Rally."
"It is an honour for Belgium to welcome a round of the FIA World Rally Championship," added François Cornelis, President of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium.
"Motorsport is very popular in Belgium and with Thierry Neuville and Stoffel Vandoorne we have drivers at the highest echelon in international motorsport. After Formula 1, the WEC and World RX, the FIA WRC is now also coming to our country, more specifically to the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, and we are very proud of that. "
For the organising Club Superstage, this promotion to the FIA World Rally Championship is the reward of the efforts of all members and volunteer employees, who have been organising a top event with heart and soul for more than 50 years.
"This is only possible due to the efforts of the entire team and we must thank them," emphasises organiser Jan Huyghe.
"Furthermore, the Ypres Rally has a cast-iron reputation in terms of organisation, safety and experience. The City of Ypres has had the rally in its genes for 56 years. Rally is in the DNA of the region and we receive a lot of support and facilities from the city to organize our rally in a unique historical context.
"Rally is also immensely popular in Belgium. The sport is carried by countless volunteers in the different regions and with Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul we have two dream ambassadors for our country at the highest level Imagine the FIA World Rally Championship being decided on the final day of the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium in ... Spa, a stone's throw from the home of Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul! "
For Emmily Talpe, Mayor of the City of Ypres, this promotion from the Renties Ypres Rally Belgium to the FIA World Rally Championship is the culmination of a long tradition.
"For more than half a century, the rally weekend has been one of the most atmospheric and lively weekends in our city. There is a close co-operation between the city council and the organiser, Club Superstage.
"We are honoured to be the host city of this unique event, a first WRC in our country. This will also be a great promotion for our city. We are convinced that all participants, media and visitors will enjoy the conviviality and the beautiful historic framework of the Grote Markt and the city centre, a backdrop that has given the Ypres Rally a unique appearance for decades.
"Of course we will also take the necessary precautions in consultation with the organisation to ensure that this can continue safely and Corona-proof. "
The dream of all Belgian rally fans to one day be able to attend a WRC round in their own country will finally be realised from November 19 to 22.
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