Ypres Regularity
Christophe Baillet and Pierre Colliard win in winter conditions

 The fifth edition of the Ypres Historic Regularity once again lived up to its reputation.  From the start on Friday evening, the pace was particularly high and the organizers had placed many navigation traps on regularity tests.  The closed road stages in the dark created the initial order at the front. There were big names to fall, with  Yves Deflandre, in particular, becoming the biggest victim of the opening stage.  He slid off the road twice with his Porsche and was immediately out of contention for the win.  On Saturday the long loop towards Oudenaarde and Hainaut was on the program.  The stage had barely started when leader Guino Kenis was delayed by three minutes.  In the haste to catch up quickly, he made two mistakes.  Michel Decremer took the lead with his Opel Ascona 400, ahead of Mirko Savic and Geert De Jaeger.

 But, as is often the case, the order was only known in the absolute final phase, which started very early Sunday morning. During the night, the Ypres course took on the allure of Monte Carlo, with a fine layer of snow and “black ice”, treacherous ice spots.  Mirko Savic was the biggest victim.  After 3 km the orange Porsche lay in a ditch, followed a little later by the BMW of Julie Kenis, fourth at the start of the final day.  She was pulled out of the canal by dad Guino Kenis, who seemed to sacrifice his chances on the podium…

 But after Eddy Snaet and Filip Deplancke ended up in a deep ditch with their Porsche, Michel Decremer also fell far back on the slippery course due to having the wrong tyres.

 The victory ultimately went to Frenchman Christophe Baillet and navigator Pierre Colliard in their Ford Escort.  “Last year we narrowly missed out on the victory. It had to work out, but it didn’t start well on Friday evening when our probe did not work on the first RT and we immediately lost time. Things also went poorly on Saturday, but in the snow it went well.  Fine. I have also driven a Porsche in the past. When it starts to slide at the back, it is difficult to control. That is why I understood that Mirko Savic made a mistake and Geert De Jaeger had to slow down a bit. We also have a Porsche ourselves.  Stood around a few times. Yes, this was a tough, difficult Ypres Historic Regularity. Congratulations to the organization,” said Christophe Baillet.

 Geert and Cédric De Jaeger briefly took over the lead in the race on Sunday morning, but they ultimately finished 20 seconds behind winner Christophe Baillet. “Of course you want to defend the leadership position when you are there, but in the end I am very satisfied.  It was wiser not to take any more risks on the slippery tracks,” said Geert De Jaeger.

 The battle for third place was extremely exciting until the finish.  From the background, Daniel Reuter and Robert Vandevorst advanced to an unexpected third place.  “We like these kinds of slippery conditions. In the snow, driving skills also play an important role. We usually don’t look at the standings, so this third place is a pleasant surprise!” laughed Daniel Reuter.

 Another surprise was the fourth place of the German Jörg Pöhlemann and Marc Stoll in a Porsche 924. They were at the start for the first time in Ypres and made strong progress on Sunday, eventually ending up barely 0.6 seconds from the podium.  “On Friday I had a hard time.  The pace was sometimes too high for our Porsche, because I don’t have the torque and power to accelerate quickly.  The next two days went well and on Sunday, in difficult conditions, when power was less important, we gained many places.  This is an unexpected result,” said Jörg.

 Guino Kenis finished within the top 5, less than 2 seconds from the podium… “And then on the last test we were held up for 14 seconds by another car and this morning I pulled Julie out of the canal. You can tell your daughter  Don’t leave it in the canal… There was clearly more to it this weekend. In the winter conditions I could have a great time.

 The Top 10 was completed by Johnny Delhez-Eddy Gully (Ford Escort), Michael Demortier-Baptiste Gengoux (Saab 99), Mario Varrewaere-Pablo Cracco (Nissan Sunny), Arnaud Vander Zypen-Yves Lambert (Alfa Romeo Giulia) and Pascal Nicolas  -Benjamin Javaux (Lancia Delta Integrale).

 Patrick Van Remoortel won the Frans Thévelin Trophy with his 1951 Apal Coupé, while Julie Kenis was the best in the Ladies Cup.

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