Making up for his misfortune here last year, Belgian driver Thierry Neuville won the two-day Renties Ypres Rally at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 R5.
It's the biggest rally in his home country, and he led from the second stage to the finish.
This popular event, for which 32 R5 cars were entered, counted for the national series as well as the international T-E-R and the MSA British series as well, with Belgian drivers taking the top six places.
Neuville’s only challenger was the French driver Bryan Bouffier, who crashed when leading on the second stage, being hospitalised with a back injury.
On the first day Kevin Abbring went off the road, as did Ole Christian Veiby. Best placed T-E-R finisher was the Skoda of Belgian Sebastien Bedoret.
The MSA British Championship highest finisher was the Fiesta R5 of Matt Edwards, though Keith Cronin led from the second to the penultimate stage, before puncturing on the final stage and dropping behind Edwards and David Bogie.
Edwards had a troubled event, suffering a broken steering rack and then electrical issues en route. Problems for other British drivers included co-driver illness forcing retirement for Rhys Yates, brake failure for Alex Lappey, and engine troubles for Sam Moffett.
Rhys Yates went off the road, before retiring with an unwell co-driver.
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23 year old Henri Hokkala has been chosen by the Finnish federation’s Star of the Future for their R2 prize drive at the forthcoming WRC Neste Rally Finland.
Open to under 25 years olds, this was their fifth now-annual event.
It is interesting to follow the fortunes of the four previous winners. Teemu Suninen (2014, WRC driver with M-Sport), Jari Huttunen (2015, Hyundai Challenge scheme driver), Juuso Nordgren (2016, trainee driver with Skoda) and Emil Lindholm (2017, R5 programme with Printsport).
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Fourth round of the Austrian series was Rallye Schneebergland, won by Niki Mayr-Mainhof’s Fiesta R5, over four minutes in front of Gerhard Aigner’s Fiesta WRC.
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Hayden Paddon won Rally South Canterbury in his Hyundai. Photo: Geoff Ridder
Hayden Paddon won Rally South Canterbury, round four of the New Zealand national series in his Hyundai i20 AP4+ car.
He led all the way, winning every stage except one, beating Andrew Hawkeswood’s Mazda 2 AP4 car by four minutes.
Leading Hawkeswood before the final stage was his teammate, Brendan Reeves, who had electrical trouble and dropped to eighth place.
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One point apart, the Fiesta R5 Moffett brothers, Josh and Sam, head the FIA Celtic Rally Trophy at mid-season at the end of last weekend’s Donegal Rally.
They respectively finished third and second ahead of the ineligible Subaru WRC of Manus Kelly.
The Darrian T90 GTRs of Ian Barrett and Kevin Gallagher finished 1-2 in the National category.
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There is uncertainty concerning Mads Ostberg’s extended agreement wth Citroen Racing.
The team statement said “MADS ØSTBERG TO COMPETE FOR CITROËN RACING FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON”, but their list of remaining events did not list Rally of Spain.
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Jumping madness continues, symptomatic of the Promoters’ belief that orthodox rallying is inherently boring.
More WRC rallies find it attractive to construct an artificial jump at the flying finish of the Power Stage.
No sooner had Rally GB (where the Power Stage is not the final stage) announced their plans to do this, than Neste Rally Finland (where jumps elsewhere are very plentiful!) wanted to do the same.
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