Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod claimed maximum Prestone MSA British Rally Championship points in Ypres to extend their lead in the series – but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Swift Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 crew, as they had to fight back from ECU and power steering problems.

In fact, they collected a 1min 10sec time penalty after the team had to replace the wiring loom in final service, putting them well and truly on the back foot going into the final day. Edwards fought back, but a power steering problem saw him settle for second – until, that is, Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin picked up a late puncture in their Hyundai i20 R5, handing maximum points to Edwards.

David Bogie/John Rowan survived a big moment in their CA1 Sport run Skoda Fabia R5 to came home second in the BRC section, while Cronin was third.

Marty McCormack/Dave Moynihan looked set for a great BRC podium finish in their Skoda, but steering failure on the final loop left him stranded on the roadside of SS20.
 Rhys Yates/Elliott Edmondson had become the first British pairing to win Rally van Wervick a fortnight earlier and arrived in Ypres full of optimism. However Yates’ weekend was one to forget. Several overshoots into fields cost the English star too much time to challenge for honours on the opening day and with Edmondson suffering from illness on the final day, the pair had to withdraw from the event.

In the Prestone MSA Motorsport News Junior British Rally Championship, Welshman James Williams and English co-driver Ross Whittock lit up the stages in their Vauxhall Adam R2. Williams broke his BRC podium duck in Ypres 12 months ago and a year on went two better to clinch his first Junior BRC victory. Despite a spin on SS11 which lost his grip on the top of the timesheets, a spirited fight-back allowed Williams to spray the champagne and claim the honour for the fastest R2 front-wheel-drive car on the event and the Junior Tony Pond Award. Williams played his BRC Joker Card in Belgium, giving him a further five points to catapult him to the top of the championship standings.

William Creighton and Liam Regan pushed the Vauxhall duo hard in their Peugeot 208 R2 and inherited the lead when Williams faulted. Unfortunately, the thousands of fans stage-side were denied a battle royale as on stage 15 the crew from Northern Ireland slid into an infamous Belgian ditch and retired on the spot. Second went to BRC debutants Josh McErlean and Aaron Johnston (Ford Fiesta R2T) while another crew new to the podium, James Wilson and Gavin Doherty (Peugeot 208 R2) made it three different marques inside the top three.

Bart Lang and Sinclair Young survived the Cadet Cup carnage to bring their Ford Fiesta R2 home in first. John Morrison and Peter Carstairs thoroughly enjoyed their trip from Scotland to take the National Rally Cup win in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.

FIA World Rally Championship leaders and local heroes Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul claimed the overall Ypres Rally victory in a Hyundai i20 R5.

“It’s just not going to sink in at all,” said Edwards. “Maybe it will in a few days. Just an unreal rollercoaster of an event. Thank you to everybody in the team for keeping us going, holding their heads high and believing we could get a strong result. I thought it was all over when we lost the power steering. This has been a very different win for us as from stage one it’s not gone right but I never doubted myself, the team or the car. You just have to keep going and take any glimmer of hope you can as when the car was on song, the event was unbelievable.

“This has really helped my championship ambitions. I really want to win the BRC this year and will not hide away from that fact. I want to complete that box set of DVDs with my car on the 2018 front cover and we will keep chipping away to get there.”