The second stage of Ypres Rally’s Saturday morning loop, SS10 Dikkebus, was temporarily canceled after a crash for Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta.
Katsuta was the second driver onto the stage after M-Sport Ford’s Gus Greensmith, and had his crash early on the stage as a crest unbalanced the car going into a left-hander.
After missing one pole on the outside of the corner, his Yaris WRC’s rear-end then swung into one of Ypres’ infamous ditches and clouted a second pole, which then spiraled the car around several times and also brought the pole down across the road.
As a result the stage was red flagged, just as Katsuta’s Toyota team-mate Sébastien Ogier was starting it, and the stage was later canceled with Greensmith the only driver to have set a time.
However, the organizer later declared the stage would be restarted after it was cleaned. Ogier completed it at road speed, before Elfyn Evans took the start at 10.39am local time.
Explaining Katsuta’s crash, Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala said: “[Through a] long left-hand corner with the compression, he lost a little bit the control of the car.
“As we knew before the rally, I explained that the difficulty here is that when you go off the ditches are really sharp.
“So he hit the ditch, and there was also the concrete pole. That concrete pole broke. Luckily it broke, because if it doesn’t break it can do even more damage, and then of course the car went – I don’t know if it rolled really, but at least it was on the side and finally ended up on the field.
“The crew are fine, that’s the most important thing. And basically I think what they are now looking there is that they try to clear the stage, and they are planning to continue the stage.”
Rally leader Thierry Neuville had warned about the jumps and tricky areas of the stage prior to its start, and after completing his first run through Dikkebus, Greensmith said: “Being first on the road, there’s so much loose [on the road].
“That was more like a gravel stage in places, cleaning a line.”