It is something that we couldn’t imagine. At all. Everything was turned upside down from the very beginning. On Ypres Rally 2022, all of our bets and our prospects changed in the most unpredictable way. Who suffered the most? Many losers and only one winner in Flanders.
Was the case in the Ypres Rally route 2022?
Just following the fastest time seemed easier, but it was just a feeling.
Ypres Rally Belgium had a short route. Some stages were repeated. The conditions were the same: asphalt, warm, sharp turns. That is what we can call a one usual rally challenge. In fact, the turns turned out to be quite tricky. The narrow roads did not boost drivers’ confidence, but rather made them more cautious. All in all, the Ypres Rally was the toughest challenge with unpredictable storylines.
Thus, the route was the real challenge, both for the drivers’ hands on the wheel and for their co-drivers’ diction.
Here are those who couldn’t handle it and as a result failed the challenge. Very sad, very impressive. Drama is what makes Ypres Rally Belgium 2022 so intriguing.
Winners and Losers of the Ypres Rally 2022
Too nervous atmosphere around Kalle Rovanperä on Ypres Rally
The pace was hot. The atmosphere was heated. Everyone was nervous, especially when the forecast on Friday predicted rain. The tarmac and the rain. What could be more tricky? However, Kalle Rownapera had a bad morning. On SS1, all eyes were on him, as the unconditional leader.
While Fin passed through the first stage with the fastest time, the next stage brought unexpected drama. The start was delayed on SS2, and Toyota’s crew became too nervous, as the tires were getting colder second by second.
Kalle Rovanperä flated out and rolled at high speed just ten kilometres after the start. Despite feeling well, the crew was unable to participate in Ypres Rally 2022 on Friday.
Winner – Elfyn Evans.
Not easy to say how long Elfyn Evans waited for the top spot. After the retirement if his teammate, Wallishman was forced to push as hard as possible to take the lead. And he succeeded, even if it was for a short time. Evans was unable to capture the Ypres Rally because he was only 5 seconds behind the leader. However, Evans’ second place is more than just good enough. Besides, Elfyn moved up to third in the WRC drivers standings.
Loser – Craig Breen
Saturday was calm. Kalle Rovanperä’s Yaris was repaired, or gathered part by part, as someone says, like a LEGO. Toyota’s engineers had a busy night, buzzing with all types of settings.
So, there was nothing to stop leaders from achieving their goal. What would happen more? But it happened.
Craig Breen, driver of an M-Sport Ford Purple Puma, has been named as one of the possible winners of Ypres Rally 2022. He won the Belgium Rally in 2019. So Breen had a good experience here and knew for sure what Rally in Flanders was about with all of that narrow roads and tricky turns. In vain. Craig Breen involved in terrific crash on second Saturday’s stage on SS10. It was so dangerous that the rally racing was stopped.
A fifth-place finisher, the Irish driver went flat out through the left turn and got rolling in his Puma rally1 car.
It is remarkable that the Dikkenbus or SS10 on the Ypres Rally 2022 went in this controversial direction for the first time. As a result, the stage became a completely new challenge for all the drivers. Adrien Fourmax and Gus Greensmith also faced a problem here. The position was saved from flattening by a miracle, followed by a heed to change the wheel.
While Breen crashed, Kalle Rovanperä set the fastest time on the stage.
Ypres Rally 2022 winner – Ott Tänak.
How can Tänak repeat his success in Finland, when Toyota is so fast with all its cars? Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta had enough to prevent Hyundai Motorsport from winning, but something turned in the other direction. Race fans were astounding in the positive sense of the word. We too.
On Friday, Ott Tänak started the day very enthusiastically. He wasn’t fast. He wasn’t last, staying in the top three. After Rovanperä’ retirement, Estonian stepped up. His main rivals were his teammate Thierry Neuville and, however, Elfyn Evans. The battle maintained until the final day, Sunday, but already without Neuville.
Ott Tänak headed the drivers standings on Sunday and kept the leadership with 5 seconds ahead of Elfyn Evans.
Meantime Kalle Rovanperä still salvaged five Wolf Power Stage bonus points and remains on track to become the youngest WRC champion in history. You may wonder what happened with Thierry Neuville? Well..
Loser – Thierry Neuville forced to retire on homeland Ypres Rally
Perhaps if it wasn’t for that terrible turn, we might have seen two Hyunday I20s on the podium, but in vain. On Saturday’s SS15, Thierry Neuville left the battle. It seems strange, but again, the case took a left turn. Oh these guys shouldn’t even think about Nascar racing.
Neuville crossed the road into the corn field. Despite being backed up to the track, the technical problems had already been reported. So, Neuville retired from home Ypres Rally Belgium 2022. There were no words… only emotions. Well, rally happens, as someone says.
Winner – Esapekka Lappi
Esapekka Lappi realized a dream he had for the Belgium weekend. He took podium on Ypres Rally 2022 and topped with the second Toyota Yaris. Lappi secured third at the end of a trouble-free weekend where a poor tyre choice on Friday was the only real problem.
He trailed Evans by 1min 36.6sec but held a massive 1min 46.9sec advantage over fourth-placed Hyundai youngster Oliver Solberg. Toyta is about fast.
The manufacturers’ championship situation remains unchanged, with Tänak’s Hyundai Motorsport squad still 88 points adrift of leaders Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Sums it up.
It is possible to calculate, in some terms, the top five drivers and possible winners of the FIA WRC season 2022 while it is still early in the season. However, something very unexpected will happen to shake up the standings. Ypres Rally 2022 is one example. The simply hard rally and the most unexpectable event of the season yet.
Don’t be tempted by short routes and simple roads next time. Sometimes, even the simplest things are more difficult. The biggest stumble blocks today were left turns with ditches.
We will soon find out what surprises Rally Acropolis will bring. The main news is that Sebastian Loeb will return to the wheel of M-Sport Ford’s purple puma, and that will be exciting. Besides, if everything goes according to plan, we will crown the youngest WRC champion already in Greece. Yes, it’s about Kalle Rovanperä, but we’re not rushing. Things need time and who knows how tricky will be roads in Greece.