Rally / 27 June 2013
Geko Ypres Rally - Zoltan Bessenyey: ?Finishing as high and scoring as many points as possible?Dikkebus, Heuvelland, Hollebeke, Kemmelberg? these are names familiar to every rally fan and rightly so: they are some of the famous special stages of the Belgian Geko Ypres Rally, one of the most important and successful rallies in the European Rally Championship calendar.
The Belgian rally sees the return of Zoltan Bessenyey and co-driver Yulianna Nyirfas to the ERC, who are looking to defend their current lead in the 2WD Drivers Championship with their Eurosol-Honda Civic Type R. The Hungarian duo, who missed last month?s round in France, have their sights set on repeating their excellent performance at the extremely difficult SATA Rallye A?ores ? their last outing in the ERC. Despite having to battle fog, mud, wet gravel and rain, they clinched 1st place in the 2WD category. It won?t be easy though as this is the first time Zoltan has competed in the Belgian Geko Ypres Rally?
?I?ve already explored the course, so I know what awaits,? says the Hungarian. ?But I?ve never had to memorise so many different junctions and tight and twisty turns in my whole rally career. Ypres isn?t an easy rally, especially for someone who has never driven here before. As for cutting corners, well I know by now that you can win a lot of time? but equally you can also lose by getting a puncture.?
With more than thirty candidates entering the 2WD class this weekend ? the majority being Belgian ? Zoltan favours a cautious strategy, realizing that he doesn?t need to attack during the first stages of the rally.
?A recce isn?t enough for a non-Belgian like me to keep up with the Belgian drivers who know this track like the back of their hand,? explains Zoltan. ?Of course I?m aiming for a podium finish, but that will only be possible if the experienced guys make mistakes. That?s why I want to finish the first day without any incidents. But I will do my very best to finish as high and to score as many points as possible. And obviously having the better of compatriot Lukacs Kornel and the Honda Civic of Szabolcs Varkonyi!?
Kornel, the 22 year-old fellow Hungarian, currently stands in 2nd place in the 2WD Driver?s Championship after winning the Tour de Corse in France and gaining valuable points in the J?nner rally in Austria and the Liepaja-Ventspils rally in Latvia.
?The presence of Kornel in Ypres is an extra motivation for us?, explains Zoltan ?There is the duel between two Hungarians, but there is also the battle for points and the lead place in the 2WD Championship.?
Szabolcs Varkonyi started in the Hungarian Championship during the 1990s and has driven with the Civic Type R since 2011. During his career Varkonyi has been crowned Hungarian champion and ended in the Top 5 of the Mescek Rally, which previously counted for the IRC. Ypres will also be a new experience for Szabolcs and co-driver Bence Szabo.
?The stages are very fast with lots of cuts and the weather is usually tricky. My target is to finish the rally and to end in the Top 5.?
For the Hungarian Honda crews, the Geko Ypres Rally starts on Thursday evening with the traditional shakedown, where they can count on the know-how of Lorenzo Borghini, the chief-mechanic of JAS Motorsport, who operates Honda Racing Customer Support. Zoltan knows that Borghini?s experience can make a big difference in Belgium:
?Lorenzo has given us the set-up of last year?s Civic, the one from Martin Kangur. We completed our first test in Hungary based on this set-up, which allowed us to adjust the Eurosol Civic for Ypres. ?With Lorenzo?s help, we?ll make some further adjustments during the shakedown and take his advice on tyre choice.?
The Geko Ypres Rally starts on Friday June 28 with six special stages, followed by another fourteen consecutive special stages on Saturday June 29 ? a total of 297,93 km against the clock.