Ypres Rally ready to host a future WRC round

Alain Penasse says the organizing team has "everything ready" to step up if required next year


The Ypres Rally remains primed and ready to come off the bench and make a World Rally Championship debut next season, according to organizer Alain Penasse.

Penasse paid tribute to everybody in the Club Super Stage organization for what they achieved in putting together a potential WRC round in a matter of weeks. He’s now keen to see that all that work doesn’t go to waste.

“We have everything ready,” Penasse told DirtFish. “We have the roadbooks, the maps, the timecards, everything is here and we just have to push the button. Ypres Rally is on the [WRC’s] reserve list for next year, so something feels the same way that we do.”

Asked about the potential for a WRC debut next year, Penasse replied: “It’s very difficult to predict what will be happening, probably it will be complicated for the next six months. All we can say is that we will be ready.”

The decision to cancel Ypres Rally came on Friday, with the event’s position increasingly untenable in the face of growing government restrictions across Europe and the growing demand on hospital beds nationally.

Thierry Neuville Ypres 2019

“It was becoming too much of a gamble,” said Penasse. “We know that there are some people who are not rally fans out there and we didn’t want to give them the chance to ring the bell.

“We had to take the decision because we knew, if we cancelled three days before the rally then it would create a big mess for all of the teams. We knew it was a gamble. We moved the date for this rally three times this year and we hoped we could make it work, we knew the coronavirus pandemic was there and coming, but we hoped it wouldn’t be so bad. It didn’t work for us.

“A lot of people put in a lot of work and I think we would have had an absolute thriller of a rally; running in these conditions in November, nobody would have known who might have won and that would have made for a great event.

“But at the same time, it wouldn’t have been a normal Ypres Rally. This event is made a lot from the social side and not to have the people walking around the terraces and being in the service park, it wouldn’t have been normal.

“The one thing I want to do is say a very big thank you to everybody in Super Stage who did so much to make this happen. We have shown to the world what Ypres Rally can do.”

Photos:Belgian Rally Championship

Words:David Evans