The Belgian masters against the foreign legion !
It looks like the Belgium Ypres Rally will again beat the record number of participants in the Super 2000 category. We have not closed the enrolment yet but there are already 17 Super 2000 cars on the list with 7 different manufacturers represented. The big guns of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge will face the tough challenge of the top of the Belgian rally field. The front runner of the Belgian armada will of course be record holder Freddy Loix who took his fifth win last year at the wheel of the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 of Peugeot Belgium-Luxemburg.

Casier, Duval, Neuville, Snijers and Tsjoen with a Super 2000

Peugeot is the official partner of the organisation this year and will come back with a significant number of cars. First there will be the top three of the IRC, Kris Meeke, Freddy Loix and Nicolas Vouilloz. They will be joined by two extra teams from Kronos. Thierry Neuville, the 20 year old German-spoken Belgian, represents the hopes of the Belgian rallyworld. He has been selected by the journalists to drive the Peugeot of the BF Goodrich Drivers Team. Four times Belgian champion Pieter Tsjoen has also decided to compete in a 207 of the Kronos team. The other 207 S2000's will be the cars of Luca Betti, Davide De Benedetto and Corrado Fontana of Italy, Michal Solowow of Poland and the Swiss Brian Lavio.

The official teams of Abarth and Skoda will of course also be in Ypres. The Italian team created a bit of a surprise by replacing Anton Alen in the second Grande Punto by Bernd Casier. He will be the team mate of Giandomenico Basso. Casier showed two years ago already that he can aim for the top spot in Ypres. Skoda will align the usual drivers, Jan Kopecky and Juho Hänninen but will also have the Fabia of the Belgian team of René Georges, a car that will be driven by nobody else than... François Duval. Duval hasn't participated for quite a few years in the Ypres rally, but the former driver of Ford, Citroën and Skoda in the WRC remains one of the fastest men around on tarmac. René Georges Rallysport will also align a VW Polo S2000 for seven times Belgian Champion Patrick Snijers.

One of the main 'unknown quantities' in Ypres will be the new Opel Corsa Super 2000 that has been developed by the British MSD team. Alexandre Bengué of France will drive the car which will celebrate its main debut in the IRC in Ypres.

They might well play the main role, but the naturally aspirated two litre cars will need to keep an eye out for the turbocharged 4WD Group N cars. Mitsubishi scored the maximum of the points in the IRC at the Safari Rally and they will put their trust in Jasper van den Heuvel who is all geared up to fight the Super 2000's at the wheel of his impressive Lancer EvoX. Franz Wittmann Jr is another driver who wants to confirm his good start to the season was not incidental. Finally, there will be a raft of fast Belgian drivers with Mitsubishi or Subaru Group N cars. And as mentioned earlier, the enrolment for the Belgium Ypres Rally 2009 has not closed yet…

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