Guy Wilks: Hectic times before Ypres
Intercontinental Rally Challenge star Guy Wilks has had a hectic time ahead of the Ypres Rally in Belgium - but managed to take in Le Mans.
Well, since the last rally in Yalta it’s been quite hectic.
A quick trip home and an even quicker turnaround saw me arrive in Le Mans for the 24hr race. I have to say it was my first time and what an awesome show it is!
It had nothing to do with the unbelievable Peugeot hospitality, or the fact I was able to drive the track one hour before the race start (!!!), but the sheer size of it all is in every way, shape and form. People, track, cars... it's all so big! Even the fairground big wheel that's at the side of the start finish looks dwarfed by it all.
From there I sped back to the UK. I was at Le Mans for three hours but saw only two laps, such is my diary. It was trains, planes and automobiles - TGV Le Mans to Paris, the plane to Amsterdam then Newcastle - and on to Durham via RCZ. I was home for 23:30.
After 36 hours at home it was time to head to Belgium for our pre-event test. We arrived for the two-day test to be greeted by sun - but rain was in the air! We shared the road with other Peugeot drivers and although the roads were just over the border in France, they were very representative of the Ypres rally roads. Changing surfaces, narrow, fast straights and big cuts with lots of junctions.
Ypres is a rally that once you start, you have no time to breathe. It keeps coming at you all the time. The night before the rally we have the traditional shakedown which is a fantastic atmosphere. The number of spectators is incredible! It's the last chance to try the car and adjust it to the weather before we are against the clock for real.
Friday has a relaxed start but once it kicks off early afternoon it will be flat out until Saturday night. You can always guarantee a close fight in Ypres.
One thing we will do before the start is to go to the Menin Gate to pay our respects to the fallen. Every night at 8pm the last post ceremony is carried out.