Spa Francorchamps won’t be included in the route for this year’s Ypres Rally, meaning all three days of the event will be held in the Flanders region.
Ypres – traditionally a two-day rally – was parachuted into the World Rally Championship calendar last year in place of Rally UK and, ironically, has replaced the same event in the 2022 schedule too.
The third day and final four stages of 2021 were held in the Spa region of Belgium, including a stage at the famous Grand Prix circuit, which resulted in a long 180-mile road section on Sunday morning.
That and the lack of spectacle at Spa-Francorchamps drew criticism from some drivers and fans, which the event organizer Club Superstage has considered for this year.
“It was not only the long liaison to Spa-Francorchamps that played a role in this decision to stay in Ypres. It was practically impossible to finish the WRC round on the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, as at that time, the preparations for the Formula 1 Grand Prix have already started,” said Club Superstage president Alain Penasse.
The decision to avoid a trip to Spa this year also means the rally will finish in the atmospheric Grokt Market in Ypres town center.
An impressive 40.56% of the route mileage will be competitive with classic tests such as Vleteren, Westouter, Dikkebus, Hollebeke and Kemmelberg – the powerstage – all included.
Ypres will be the ninth round of the 2022 season, held on August 18-21.