Princen profits in Ypres IRC 2WD Cup battle
First win for the Megane RS N4
Kris Princen has claimed his first victory in the 2011 IRC 2WD Cup with a determined display on the GEKO Ypres Rally, which finished in north-west Belgium on Saturday night. His victory puts him equal second in the drivers’ standings, six points behind Jean-Michel Raoux, who was not competing on the demanding asphalt event.
Driving a Mégane RS, the experienced Belgian driver took advantage when Kevin Abbring and Cédric Cherain both hit trouble in the closing stages.
The highly-rated Abbring, in a DS3 R3, was in a comfortable lead when he skated off the road on a tight, first-gear corner and ended up stuck in a ditch for several minutes. The Dutchman recovered to fourth at the finish with a charging display.
His misfortune left Cherain in first place until his Mégane RS lost power on the second Watou stage on Saturday evening before a puncture caused him to go off the road on the Heuvelland stage.
Ghislain De Mevius also impressed in his Kronos Racing Peugeot 207 RC only to crash out on stage 16. That left Irishman and Ypres rookie Tommy Doyle in the clear to take the runner-up spot in the IRC 2WD Cup and the Class 5 honours in his Clio R3.
Kevin Demaerschalk took third and earned the prestigious BFO Award in the process. The accolade is handed out to a young Belgian driver posting the most promising performance on each round of the country’s national championship, which ran in tandem with the main IRC event.
Elsewhere, defending IRC 2WD Cup champion Harry Hunt completed day one in 11th overall but retired when his DS3 R3 developed gearbox problems on Saturday morning.
In the battle for the IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers’ crown, M-Sport Ford was the biggest scorer in Belgium with Claudie Tanghe and Vincent Verschueren claiming a one-two in their Fiesta R2s. Martin Kangur (Honda Civic Type R) and Matthias Boon (ŠKODA Fabia R2) also claimed strong points for their respective manufacturers. Honda continues to lead the standings over Peugeot.