Thierry Neuville Ypres Rally 202

Ypres Rally Belgium 2022: What Is So Special About?

For one of the toughest challenges in the series, the FIA World Rally championship returns to Tarmac. Things are in place for the Ypres Rally Belgium 2022 to be one of the most memorable events of the season, but why is it so special? 

More than five decades of Belgian rally passion

First of all, Ypres Rally Belgium has a long history. It’s almost impossible to believe, but that first rally in Flanders took place more than fifty years ago, in 1965. The asphalt course at Ypres joined the FIA World Rally Championship in 2021, making Belgium the 35th country to host a WRC round since its start in 1973.

So, this place is very special. Even the narrow roads hint at the rally passion sweeping across Flanders. But among current rally drivers, our bravest one, there is one handsome man, for whom the Belgium Rally is more than special.

Thierry Neuville Rally Belgium
Thierry Neuville, Photo credit: wrc.com

Thierry Neuville has “only one goal” for the Ypres Rally Belgium 2022

“The goal is to repeat the win from last year. Nothing else.” – commented Belgian rally driver, who heads home, focused on the prize. Debuting in the 2021 World Rally Championship, Ypres Rally Belgium caused a stir, especially among Belgian race fans. Thierry Neuville, their national star, made an outstanding win.

In 2021 Belgium became the 35th country to host a WRC round since the series started in 1973. The asphalt course at Ypres, in the Flanders region, is hard on cars and teams. First held in 1965, Ypres is renowned for being one of Europe’s toughest rallies with narrow farm roads featuring tight junctions and drainage ditches for teams to navigate.

To win at home for any driver is a matter of honor. The feeling of sharing a winning bottle in front of natives and people who know you better than anyone else is something that cannot be described. Just emotions. Just the honour and the goal.

Is it possible for Thierry Neuville to win in Belgium?

Shortly saying, yes. The Hyundai driver has every chance to win. Probably it sounds courage against so many fast Toyota competitors. However, no one expected Ott Tanak to win Rally Finland, even when Kalle Rovanpera was so fast.

It is reassuring to know that Thierry Neuville knows every inch of the native lands. Nevertheless, Toyota is continuing to be the chief rival of Hyundai. Takamoto Katsuta and Elfyn Evans are really fast. Hybrid Yaris WRC Rally1 2022 is equipped with all the magic Japanese technology. In the meantime, Kale Rovanpera has won five of the thirteen rounds of the FIA WRC season 2022. Moreover, he is not planning to stop.

ypres rally belgium, Toyota, wrc.com
Photo credit wrc.com

Kalle Rovanperä‘s eyes are on the prize in Belgium.

Young Fin became a witness to the racing miracle. Kalle Rovanperä won his first rally in 2021, making headlines all over the world. He became the youngest rally winner when he won Rally Estonia 2021. Another shocking result rocked the racing world after a Toyota driver claimed a third victory in a row in Portugal. However, it was Ott Tanak who stopped this noise and put an end to the glory music at the next stage. But something tells us it’ll just be for a while.

What could be better than five victories? Six, of course! A good place to achieve Kalle Rovanperä’s goal is the Ypres Rally Belgium 2022. Therefore, it may increase the chances for Kalle to win the WRC championship in the 2022 season. It won’t be easy, since the tricky narrow course could confuse even the bravest racing genius.

The tricky route of the Rally Ypres 2022

The route of Ypres Rally Belgium is another reason not to miss the racing event.
Ypres has the reputation as one of Europe’s toughest rallies with narrow farm roads featuring tight junctions and the deep ditches which line the stages are famously unforgiving.

Flanders region promises us the extremely compact route through Ypres’ bustling market square. So we are facing 20 stages covering 281.58km with each having its own features. We will start on Friday with four stages around Ypres. Vleteren (11.97km) takes us south to Westouter – Boeschepe (19.60km) and then on to Mesen – Middelhoek (7.99km) and Langemark (8.95km) before the respite of service. We will repeat the stages of in the afternoon before returning to service to complete 162.84km of action.

Saturday will be short, but without time to rest. Eight more treacherous stages covering 135.83km into a 269.05km route. We will pass Reninge (15.00km), Dikkebus (14.29km) and Wijtschate (15.00km). While the Hollebeke (22.32km) becomes the longest test.

Unlike 2021, we will not head to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for Sunday’s race, but instead will head in the Flanders region. The Watou (12.36km) and Kemmelburg (13.31km) with the second pass of Kemmelberg – that is how Wolf Power Stage appears.

Ypres Rally Belgium route
Ypres Rally Belgium route/ photo credit wrc.com

The weather forecasts for Belgium Ypres Rally 2022.

The forecast weather for the region of Flanders looks very interesting. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be cloudy skies with a +23. On Friday, we are expecting the most interesting conditions for the start of the Ypres Rally Belgium. There will be hot temperatures of +25 and a chance of rain for more than 50%. So, there will be no mistakes on the first day. 

In addition, when the conditions change, tires come first. That driver who will find the most effective way to maximize the performance of the car will be the one to claim the Flanders’ victory.

Belgium Ypres Rally 2022 Schedule

Thursday 18 AugustLOCAL TIME
GOOD EVENING RALLY FANS – PRE SHOW FROM YPRES SERVICE AREA18:30
Friday 19 AugustLOCAL TIME
GOOD MORNING: STUDIO FROM YPRES SERVICE AREA10:00
SS1 VLETEREN 110:16
SS2 WESTOUTER-BOESCHEPE 111:08
SS3 MESEN-MIDDELHOOK 112:03
SS4 LANGEMARK 112:53
BREAK13:45
SS5 VLETEREN 215:15
SS6 WESTOUTER-BOESCHEPE 216:08
SS7 MESEN-MIDDELHOOK 217:03
SS8 LANGEMARK 217:53
YPRES SERVICE AREA – MEDIA ZONE18:31
Saturday 20 AugustLOCAL TIME
GOOD MORNING STUDIO FROM SERVICE AREA 09:15
SS9 RENINGE 110:13
SS10 DIKKEBUS 1 TV LIVE WF111:00
SS11 WIJTSCHATE 112:00
SS12 HOLLEBEKE 112:55
BREAK14:15
SS13 RENINGE 215:13
SS14 DIKKEBUS 2 TV LIVE WF216:00
SS15 WIJTSCHATE 217:00
SS16 HOLLEBEKE 217:55
YPRES SERVICE AREA 18:39
Sunday 21 AugustLOCAL TIME
GOOD MORNING FROM YPRES SERVICE AREA07:30
SS17 WATOU 108:40
SS18 KEMMELBERG 1 TV LIVE WF309:30
BREAK11:15
SS19 WATOU 211:49
BREAK12:30
SS22 KEMMELBERG 2 WOLF POWERSTAGE13:00
WRAP UP SHOW FROM YPRES SERVICE AREA14:30
Note Belgium is +2 UTC timezone, the timetable is a subject to change

Sums it up.

Thierry Neuville heading home. This year’s Ypres Rally Belgium gives the Belgian rally driver hope of repeating his victory from last year’s event to take his first victory in the WRC 2022 season. He needs it the most, as well as his entire Hyundai team. However, doing so will not be easy, as Toyota drivers are all extremely fast and competitive, in particular Kalle Rovanperä. 

Young Fin is, step by step, becoming the genuine star, despite that he is only 21! He has already won five rallies: Rally Sweden, Estonia, Portugal, the foggy stage in Croatia, and Safari Rally Kenya. Rovanpera is unstoppable and Belgium Rally is his new goal.

In some terms, the target is easier to reach as the route as well as the rally programme for the weekend is very short. That’s why we will start on Friday. But it is what just seems to be, as the roads are so narrow that it will be very difficult to avoid not mistakes.

Deep ditches are waiting for the right moments to knock a driver out of the race. Meanwhile, Friday will be a very tricky day due to the weather conditions. The forecast is promising rain. The tire strategy makes sense more than ever.

This year’s Ypres Rally Belgium has become a worthwhile test of driving skills on tarmac and asphalt. Before we begin our Belgian adventure, let’s wish our brave drivers all the best and take a deep breath. Meeting on WRC All live.