Geko Ypres Rally organizers praise spectators looking back on 2012 edition
Last weekend Juho Hänninen took his first ever victory in the Geko Ypres Rally, after an intense battle with local hero Freddy Loix. The 2012 edition of the rally was also one of the safest ever, with spectators responsibly enjoying the action. Over the whole rally weekend, security crews from the helicopter only had to intervene twice, and both FIA observers and rally drivers praised spectators for their discipline.
Last year, Geko Ypres Rally organizers decided to reduce the no public zones with no less than 85% and change them into so-called 10 meter zones. Rally Manager Alain Penasse comments: "In our efforts to continuously improve spectator comfort, rally organizers decided to reduce the no public zones and make sure fans could spread over the special stages to enjoy the rally. To make this a success, we knew we had to rely on their responsiblity and I am very happy to see that specators respected the guidance from our stewards and safetey crews. FIA observers, security crews and pilots unanimously praised spectators for their disciplined behavior. On some of the stages, spectators even assisted our stewards and helped make sure that all spectators were safely placed!"
Many rally drivers, including Freddy Loix, indicated spectators were more disciplined than ever before: "Safety has always been an important topic for me because safety will be decisive for the future of rally-sport. And taking into consideration the tragic events of the past months, the importance of safety has even increased. That's why it did me good to see the discipline of the public in Ypres. It really sets an example for the oncoming rallies and I definitely hope that this exemplary conduct will also be present there." Alain Penasse: "I would like to thank our stewards and safety crews, as it would be impossible without them to organize this kind of event. They did a perfect job. But at the same time I have to thank spectators and fans for making this year's Geko Ypres Rally a feast for pilots and organizers."
Some photographers were caught on misbehaviour and stayed, even after several warnings by the securitymarshalls, in the forbidden 10-meter areas. As a consequence of their unacceptable and dangerous misbehaviour, these people will in the future no longer be accepted as accreditated photographers during the Geko Ypres Rally. The organisers of the Geko Ypres Rally are of the opinion that journalists must behave according to the rules and regulations and that they should act as a model for the others. And that they must bear the consequences if they fail to behave like they should.