Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IJune 19, 2009

Freddy Loix (Peugeot 207 S2000) finished the first day of the IRC’s Belgium Ypres Rally with a lead of just under five seconds over series leader Kris Meeke.

"I'm just trying to drive carefully and keep my concentration," said Loix at the finish. "I know this event quite well but it's still so easy to make a mistake."

Meeke, the winner of the last two IRC rounds, has stayed close to hold a strong second place at the overnight halt.  Meeke declared himself 'surprised' to be trading fastest times with his veteran Belgian rival on home soil.
"I'm just driving my own stages," Meeke said. "I'm very surprised to be going so quickly, and I knew that if I came back into service leading the rally I'd be for the high jump! I don't want to beat Freddy." 
Jan Kopecky trails the Peugeot pair by 8.4s in his factory Skoda Fabia S2000, with a charging Giandomenico Basso clawing back time for Abarth in the battle for fourth, ahead of Kopecky's Skoda teammate Juho Hanninen by 0.2s. 

Leading positions after leg one:
Pos  Driver                 Car         Time
 1.  Freddy Loix            Peugeot     1h03m46.4s
 2.  Kris Meeke             Peugeot      +    4.9s
 3.  Jan Kopecky            Skoda        +   13.3s
 4.  Giandeomenico Basso    Abarth       +   56.9s
 5.  Juho Hanninen          Skoda        +   57.1s
 6.  Pieter Tsjoen          Peugeot      + 1m09.2s
 7.  Jasper van den Heuvel  Mitsubishi   + 1m41.0s
 8.  Luca Betti             Peugeot      + 2m40.6s
 9.  Corrado Fontana        Peugeot      + 2m41.4s
10.  Franz Wittmann         Mitsubishi   + 3m57.1s

IRC 2WD Cup leader: Piepers/de Wild    Honda Civic Type R