Thierry Neuville insists he won’t be feeling any added pressure when he starts the Geko Ypres Rally on Friday, despite his billing as one of his country’s brightest hopes for the future.
Neuville, 21, hails from Hunningen in the far east of Belgium near to the border with Germany, approximately 300 kilometres from Ypres, where round sixth of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge will be taking place.
He will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 run by the vastly successful Kronos Racing operation under the Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg banner in deference to backing from the two Peugeot importers.
"Ypres is the most important event of the year for me with lots of people in Belgium looking for my result," said Neuville. "But I don’t feel under any pressure to try to win because of this. All I want to do is stay on the road and get some experience."
Neuville made his debut in a S2000 car on the event last season after being selected for the BFGoodrich Drivers‘ Team seat by a panel of Belgian journalists. He ran as high as fourth before a crash forced his retirement.
"Even though the stages can be quite hard it is a real pleasure to drive in Ypres and it’s good that I have some experience of this event," said Neuville. "I came to watch this rally with my family when I was 10 years old so it is nice to be here competing."
Loix to make Goodwood Festival of Speed debut
Belgian ace Freddy Loix will make his debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK next month (2-4 July). The 39-year-old, who is due to return to Intercontinental Rally Challenge duty on this week’s Geko Ypres Rally, will pilot a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 at the motorsport extravaganza, which regularly attracts in excess of 100,000 spectators.
Loix drives for Skoda’s Belgian importer in the country’s national rally championship and is also embarking on a selected programme of IRC rallies, starting with the Tarmac-based Ypres Rally, when he will drive a third Fabia for the factory Skoda Motorsport team.
At Goodwood, Loix will drive a Skoda UK Motorsport-run Fabia in place of Briton Guy Wilks, who is still recovering from the injuries he sustained during his crash on Rally d’Italia-Sardegna earlier this month. Although he won’t be able to drive, Wilks will be present at Goodwood to sign autographs and meet fans.
Numerous big names from several motorsport disciplines will be attending the Festival, which features an asphalt hill climb and a gravel rally stage, as well as static displays of competition cars.
New website for Sibiu Rally IRC Supporter Event
Organisers of the Sibiu Rally, the IRC Supporter Event, have created a new English-language website at www.raliulsibiului.ro/en/.
The all-gravel event takes place in Sibiu, Romania, from 15-18 July. As well as being an IRC Supporter Event, it is also the fifth round of the popular Romanian National Rally Championship.
Sibiu Rally bosses are trying to attract more drivers from outside of Romania to take part on the event and organiser, Sorin Itu, said: "We will have more kilometres of stages than in 2009 for bringing us closer to the standard of an IRC event. We will also reintroduce the night stage Santa and are preparing many surprises for this year’s edition."
The Sibiu Rally, the second of three IRC Supporter Events scheduled to run this season, gets underway with a ceremonial start in the main square in Sibiu on 15 July.
RACMSA Rally of Scotland tickets go on sale
Tickets for RACMSA Rally of Scotland, the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, have gone on sale to members of the public.
Prices have been reduced this year in response to the current economic downturn with various packages available to fans ranging from a ticket offering access to a single stage to a pass covering all stages and services. Furthermore, children under 16 attending the event with an adult will be admitted free of charge to all stages.
RACMSA Rally of Scotland made its first appearance in the IRC in 2009 and was won by Guy Wilks in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000. This year’s event is based in Perth and is scheduled to take place from 15-17 October.
Full ticket details are available at www.rallyofscotland.com.
Tickets for Scotland’s IRC round are now on sale to fans