Thierry Neuville set the pace on Thursday’s shakedown ahead of his home event at Ypres Rally Belgium this weekend.
The Hyundai driver pipped championship leader Kalle Rovanperä by 0.6s at his fourth and final run at Nieuwkerke’s 7.34 km shakedown stage.
Rovanperä, who was the only WRC driver to complete three runs through shakedown, was one-tenth ahead of Neuville after three runs but dropped one place after Neuville’s last run. Rovanperä arrives in Ypres with a huge 94-point lead in the championship.
The Finn can theoretically win the title in Belgium this weekend for which he needs to be 120 points ahead of his nearest rival at the end of the rally. For that, a win in Belgium is necessary as well as bad results for Tänak and Neuville.
Oliver Solberg and Elfyn Evans were joint third fastest in Ypres’ shakedown, 1.3s adrift of Neuville’s leading pace. Craig Breen followed in P5, three tenths behind Solberg/Evans and a tenth ahead of Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi.
Adrien Fourmaux completed five runs to go P7, 0.5s adrift of Lappi and 0.2s ahead of the winner last time out in Finland, Ott Tänak. Takamoto Katsuta and M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith rounded off the top 10 in shakedown in P9 and P10 respectively.
Belgium’s Sébastien Bedoret was the fastest WRC2 driver, 0.8s ahead of former Citroën WRC driver Stéphane Lefebvre.
WRC Ypres Rally Belgium 2022 – Shakedown results
|#||Drivers||Car||Time / Diff. to 1st|
|1.||Neuville / Wydaeghe||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||3:44.4|
|2.||Rovanperä / Halttunen||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+0.6|
|3.||Solberg / Edmondson||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+1.3|
|3.||Evans / Martin||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+1.3|
|5.||Breen / Nagle||Ford Puma Rally1||+1.6|
|6.||Lappi / Ferm||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+1.7|
|7.||Fourmaux / Coria||Ford Puma Rally1||+2.2|
|8.||Tänak / Järveoja||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+2.4|
|9.||Katsuta / Johnston||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+4.0|
|10.||Greensmith / Andersson||Ford Puma Rally1||+5.6|
Photo: Hyundai Motorsport