The sweet taste of revenge?
The 2010 edition of the GEKO Ypres Rally has sure gone off to a fantastic start. We’ve had the the first issues, the first retirements… in short, the first disappointments. The first three Škoda Fabias S2000 are setting the pace for the others. There is one exception of course, the Peugeot 207 S2000 of a certain Kris Meeke…

As in the first leg, Freddy Loix (Škoda Fabia S2000) and Kris Meeke (Peugeot 207 S2000) are fighting it out in front. The Belgian again won two out of three stages and doubles his advantage on the man of Ireland. He now leads the race by 5“8. “What a day !”, says Freddy. “The car is really great and I am having great fun. The fight just started”. The winner of last year does not seem to disagree. “ A really great day. I cannot go much faster really. We’re really flt out.¨ Needless to say tomorrow will be a warm day.

If we leave these two guys aside, the second run through the 28.82 km of Hollebeke again gives us a big retirement. As if one wanted to balance things, it was a Škoda that went off this time as Juho Hänninen parked his car in a ditch. The roads of the Westhoek claim another victim… And they didn’t leave it just to one! They weren’t going very well, but still, all three Proton Satria Neo S2000 had to retire in Hollebeke. All for the same reason: Engine failure.

Michal Solowow (Ford Fiesta S2000) struggled with his fuel pump, Jan Kopecký (Škoda) made adaring bet mounting very soft rubbers on his car and Luca Betti (Peugeot) had a disagreement with is brakes. As a result, Neuville sneaked in in 4th place. It’s a great performance for the driver of the Peugeot-Belgium-Luxemburg team who does not seem to be able to aim for the podium, but remains only 30 seconds off. Pieter Tsjoen (Peugeot) and Bernd Casier (Škoda) are only a handful seconds apart ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen who’s very pleased with his Ford Fiesta S2000. Patrick Snijers (Peugeot) is only 9 seconds behind the Norwegian (up from 3“2 after leg 1).

Just behind him, we find Bruno Magalhăes (Peugeot), slowly making progress on an event his is discovering for the first time. Jasper van den Heuvel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) closes the top 10 as authoritarian leader of the group N category. The Dutchman is really in a comfortable position now Vincent Verschueren (Subaru Impreza STi) walzed into the scenery on stage 4. Alexandre Romain (Mitsubishi) comes home second, but one minute behind the leader in Group N.

One more retirement to mention ! Kris Princen does not manage to reach the start of SS4 after his alternator packed up. The young man from Netherlands, Kevin Abbring, takes over the lead in A7, also on one the incredible Clio R3’s. Hans Weijs Jr leads the Citroën gang knocking on the doors of the Top 20 over all. Caren Burton sits in second place, 34“5 behind on Abbring but 45 seconds ahead of Matthias Boon. The Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy sees Cédric Cherain out in front. Kevin Demaerschalk is just 8“5 behind. Ghislain de Mevius stands in third position at about 1 minute. The son of Grégoire is just ahead of De Cecco, who suffered a problem with the throttle body.

Standings after SS6 (Day 1)
After SS3 After SS6
1. Loix / Miclotte (Škoda Fabia S2000), 27:24.1 54:33.6
2. Meeke / Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000), + 2.8 + 5.8
3. Kopecký / Starý (Škoda Fabia S2000), + 9.4 + 22.1
4. Neuville / Klinger (Peugeot 207 S2000), + 25.6 + 45.7
5. Tsjoen / Chevaillier (Peugeot 207 S2000), + 34.7 +1:10.5
6. Casier / Caesemaeker (Škoda Fabia S2000), + 54.6 +1:37.6
7. Mikkelsen / Floene (Ford Fiesta S2000) + 57.4 +1:58.2
8. Snijers / Cokelaere (Peugeot 207 S2000), +1:00.6 +2:07.2
9. Magalhăes / Magalhăes (Peugeot 207 S2000), +1:07.6 +2:14.8
10. Van Den Heuvel / Kolman (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X), +1:12.8 +2:30.5

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