A new date of October 1-3 has been secured for the Ypres Rally, potentially saving the British Rally Championship season.
Originally scheduled for June 25-27, Ypres was officially postponed a fortnight ago but rally organizers were adamant that the event would return later in the year.
That return has now been secured on the first weekend of October, presenting crews with a very different challenge to the usual sun-kissed Flanders lanes with conditions likely to be more slippery. There will also be a lot more night stages on the itinerary due to fading light conditions.
“The corona crisis and the ban on sports until July 31 have forced us to postpone the Renties Ypres Rally for the first time into fall,” said Ypres organizer Club Superstage’s president Alain Penasse.
“It was a complicated puzzle to find a suitable date together with all parties. We will do everything we can to achieve a top edition during the first weekend of October. With this date in early October, the Ypres Rally is also an ideal preparation race for the World Cup Rally in Germany.
“It will undoubtedly be a new challenge for the drivers to complete the well-known special stages in the autumn. The participants will have to finish more tests in the dark. In a way, we will return to the roots.”
The news is a boost for both the British and Belgian Championships. Rally van Haspenguow is the only Belgian event to have been completed this season but in line with Ypres’ new date, a revised calendar has been announced.
Omloop van Vlaanderen (September 4-5), East Belgian Rally (September 26), Rally du Condroz (November 7-8), Rallye de Wallonie (November 28 or 29) and Spa Rally (December 12-13) have all been rescheduled to produce a seven round championship.
Provided the Galloway Hills Rally runs on September 19 as is being planned, the British series will run as a five-round contest.
There will be four counting rounds in a period of six weeks, with the double header Wales Rally GB running on October 29 – November 1.
Defending champion Matt Edwards currently leads the championship over Osian Pryce and Rhys Yates courtesy of the Cambrian Rally result back in February.