Our very own Managing Director Neil Simpson and Co-Driver Michael Gibson are no strangers to Belgium tarmac, having competed previously in national Belgium rally's, such as the brilliant Rally du Condroz. But a WRC event, that's a much bigger, much more demanding event.
Round 9 of the World Rally Championship was based in the beautiful and historic Belgium city of Ypres with the 20 stages taking place within the phacinity of the Flanders region. The stages are characterised by fast narrow tarmac lanes through open farmland with tight junctions, large cuts and are lined by unforgiving ditches ready to catch out even the most experienced of drivers.
It was a solid first day on the dirty, super fast Belgium lanes with Neil & Mike finding more confidence as the day went on. Unfortunately an off on the very last stage of the day lost the pair a chunk of time after being caught out by one of Ypres's notorious T-junctions and the car ended up in a roadside ditch facing skywards. Thankfully the enthusiastic spectators managed to pull the car out and the pair where able to finish the day back in service. Huge thank you to all the fans for their help!
Day two was a good day, with Neil feeling more confident in the car, plus with the improving weather making the stages and grip levels slightly more predictable. By the end of day 2 and after 133km, Neil and Mike had made up 21 places on the leader board, finishing the day in a great 31st place overall.
The final day was made up of 4 stages with the final Powerstage taking place on the famous Kemmelberg cobbles. The aim for the final day was to finish the rally safely and to bring the car home in one piece, which is exactly what they did. Their final day's pace was even good enough for Neil & Mike to gain yet another three places, resulting in the pair finishing the rally in 28th place overall and 13th place in their class (WRC2 Open).
Huge thank you to our great friends and the best team in the World Rally Championship service park Toksport WRT, plus SKODA Motorsport, all the officials, marshals and volunteers of the rally and to all our supporters. And a big thank you once again to the fans who pulled us out of the ditch on SS8 Langemark. We are super grateful.
Thank you Belgium.