Langenakens ends Gonon’s Production run
Anthony Martin finishes 2nd
Florian Gonon’s run of wins in the IRC Production Cup is over after Jonas Langenakens claimed victory in the category on last week’s GEKO Ypres Rally, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Gonon, from Switzerland, had won on both of his two appearances in the class this season on Rallye Monte-Carlo and Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza WRX STI he shares with compatriot Sandra Arlettaz.
He completed day one of the asphalt rally as the third highest IRC Production Cup runner only for a mechanical failure to force his retirement after Saturday’s first stage.
His misfortune left Belgian Langenakens in the clear to win ahead of countryman Anthony Martin who, like Langenakens, was at the wheel of a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
But the standout performance came from Jasper van den Heuvel in his R4-specification Ralliart Lancer, who finished third in class after recording a number of impressive stage times despite being delayed repairing damaged brakes and suspension during the course of the rally.
It was the first appearance on an international event for Dutchman van den Heuvel and co-driver Martine Kolman since they suffered burns in a crash on a rally in Germany last August. At the finish, Kolman announced her retirement from competition.
John Easton, whose MML Sports operation provided the R4 performance update kit for van den Heuvel’s car, said: “I’m delighted that Jasper was able to put in such competitive times in his R4, using our kit of parts. It’s a shame that the penalties cost him a better result but it would appear that the R4 kit seems to work well, particularly encouraging on [the] Ypres Rally, which is notoriously difficult.”
Philip Barbier was the leading Subaru Impreza finisher in fifth, one place behind Ralliart Lancer driver Andy Lefevere.