The Belgium Ypres Rally will take on a 'new look' next year, organisers confirmed today.
The 44th edition of the event back in June was judged to be a real success and now plans are afoot to make sure it is even better in 2009 with some 'interesting changes' said to be in the pipeline. As part of those plans Alain Penasse has been appointed as the new rally manager to oversee the improvements.
"The IRC is clearly gaining in popularity and as one of the first events to participate in the series we want to ensure we grow too," said Ypres Rally president Andre Bostyn. "The success of the IRC is a clear motivator for our team to let the Belgium Ypres Rally evolve too.
"We have first of all pulled in some new people to bring a breath of fresh air to the organisation. This collaboration is bringing plenty of new ideas and the future looks fascinating!
"Alain Penasse, who works with our commercial partner On-Event, will become the new Rally Manager. His experience and know-how should help the growth of our event. We plan to make some significant changes for 2009 to make the rally more attractive to the public!"
The first big change for fans will be the new spectator zones that will be added and in addition a real 'rally village' will be built in the market place of Ypres.
The stages have also been adapted and some traditionally spectacular stretches such as the Passendale-field and the road down the Monteberg (on the Kemmelberg stage) are back on the programme.
"The stages will be better signposted and we are even considering a stage just at the other side of the French border!" added Bostyn.
"The drivers can also look forward to a great event. We have for instance increased the area on the Ypres market place to allow more teams to set up their service in full view of the public.
"The stages will become even more technical and fast in order to ensure the Ypres Rally remains a top challenge for the drivers."
Precise details on all the changes for the 45th Belgium Ypres Rally will be published early in the New Year.
"I am really looking forward to this challenge," added new Ypres Rally manager, Alain Penasse. "We have a motivated team to keep developing the success of the Belgium Ypres Rally.
"The growing success of the IRC has attracted more manufacturers and sponsors to the Belgium Ypres Rally. If we combine this with our changes, I am confident the 2009 event will be one of the best! We hope everyone will have put the weekend of 19 - 21 June 2009 in their agenda as it will be an event you will not want to miss!"