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Dutch Peugeot driver Kevin Abbring became only the second foreigner to win Belgium’s famous Ypres Rally in eight years, and the first non-Skoda driver to win in that period.


Ypres 2017 winner Kevin Abbring (left).

Abbring took an eight second victory over French Skoda driver Bryan Bouffier.   

Bouffier had been challenged on the first day by Hyundai driver, Thierry Neuville, who threw away a close lead with a spectacular crash, but then on the second morning the leader, Bouffier, was delayed by engine mounting problems and was unable to catch Abbring in the final race to the finish.  

It was Abbring’s second successive overall win in a Belgian championship rally.
This year’s Ypres rally saw a major breakthrough.  The event, which had been a round of the FIA’s European Rally Championship for over 40 years, was this year a round of the new TER series instead, and as an experiment was also a round of the British national series.  

In the end the top TER competitor was sixth finisher, Giandomenico Basso, who was delayed on the first day with engine trouble, while the top British championship finisher was Keith Cronin in seventh.

Ypres 2017 Neuville HyundaiThierry Neuville's brightly coloured Hyundai i20 R5.The best two-wheel drive car was Tim can Parys’ Porsche, while Guillaume de Mevius won the RC4 class in a Peugeot 208 R2.
In a curious twist of fortune, the Ypres Rally is managed by Hyundai’s WRC team manager, Alain Penasse, who arranged for the Belgian driver Neuville to be a promotionally attractive pacesetting competitor.  

The event saw two of Hyundai's former team drivers, Abbring and Bouffier, finish first and second overall – driving other makes of cars!  

Also, his team’s official entries of Neuville and the Korean trainee driver, Chewon Lim, both rolled their cars …  

Highest placed Hyundai was Basso.

Final results:
1. Abbring Kevin - Tsjoen Pieter, Peugeot 208 T16, 2:20:46.8
2. Bouffier Bryan - Dini Gilbert, Škoda Fabia R5, 2:20:54.8
3. Verschueren V. - Hostens V., Škoda Fabia R5, 2:21:33.7
4. Casier Bernd - Vyncke Pieter, Ford Fiesta R5, 2:22:24.7
5. Kobus Hermen - de Wild Erik, Škoda Fabia R5, 2:24:19.2
6. Basso Giandomenico - Granai L., Hyundai i20 R5, 2:24:20.9
7. Cronin Keith - Galvin Mikie, Ford Fiesta R5, 2:25:00.3
8. Princen Kris - Kaspers Peter, Škoda Fabia R5, 2:25:24.9
9. Geusens Polle - Cuvelier Filip, Ford Fiesta R5, 2:25:46.7            
10. Edwards Matt - Garrod Darren, Ford Fiesta R5, 2:26:18.4

- Martin Holmes

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