The traditional Ypres Rally tarmac roads proved to be challenging for first-timers, but after some difficulties Joonas Tokee claimed quite good result and points with fifth place in FIA ERC Junior class.
– I knew that the event is going to be challenging in terms of the weather. The rain had softened the edges of the roads, so lot of mud was on the road in many places. We tried to look those places already during the recce, Joonas informed.
The first day of the rally went well for Tokee and his co-driver Jani Salo. The duo clocked competitive stage times, and the rhythm of asphalt driving began to be found.
– We were able to match the times set by a lot more experienced asphalt drivers, but the Top3 had very fast pace. In second day we planned to push more, but the attempt backfired as we went to ditch on the third SS of the morning and lost five minutes.
– After that I made some small mistakes, but many other drivers had problems too, and in the end we managed fifth in class. We got a good amount of points and really a large amount of experience.
– Before the Ypres I have had just small test rally on tarmac in my career. We were able to see that the fastest tarmac drivers were not too far away. Ypres Rally opened a lot of tarmac driving secrets for me, Joonas said.
FIA ERC Junior series will continue in auto24 Rally Estonia in mid-July, and then young and talented drivers will battle on very quick gravel roads.
Text: Jarno Saari
Photo: Josef Petru