- November 10, 1970
- Belgian Rally Championship
Freddy Loix is one of the most successful Belgian rally drivers ever. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, it was obvious that he's probably the best because he recorded three WRC podiums in 86 starts between 1993 and 2004. But, in the meantime, first Francois Duval and then Thierry Neuville scored some Belgian victories in the World Rally Championship, so now we can tell that Loix is one of Top 5 Belgians on the world's rally scene.
Since leaving WRC, Loix was competing in other international competitions (IRC and ERC) but his focus was on the Belgian Rally Championship, where he won four consecutive titles from 2013 to 2016.
Freddy started rallying with legendary Lancia Delta
Freddy Loix was born on November 10, 1970, in Tongeren, Belgium. As a teenager, he was competing with go-karts. He bought his first rally car in 1990.
It was Lancia Delta HF 4WD, which he used in few rounds of the Belgian Championship. He crashed with Lancia at Lotto Haspengouwrally and then jumped into the cockpit of Opel Kadett GSi.
Three seasons with Opel Astra, including WRC debut
In 1991, Freddy started to drive Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 and competed with that car for two seasons. In 1993, he returned to the cockpit of the Opel Astra GSi, driving for the Opel Team Belgium in the ERC and BRC. In October 1993, Loix debuted in the World Rally Championship, driving Astra at Rallye Sanremo and finishing 9th overall (2nd in A7 class).
Loix spent two more seasons with Opel Team Belgium and he had similar schedule of events. In 1994, he participated in two WRC events (Finland and Italy) and he also participated in the 2-litre World Championship. He reached the podium at Rallye Sanremo, finishing third in 2-Litre WC classification.
In 1995, his programme expanded to four events and he scored the first 2-Litre WC victory, at Rallye Sanremo. Sven Smeets became Loix's co-driver in 1995 and they stayed together until 2004.
Switch to 4WD rally cars in 1996
In 1996, Loix finally switched to a four-wheel-drive vehicle, starting to drive Toyota Celica GT-Four for Toyota Team Belgium. He scored two wins in the Belgian rounds of the European Rally Championship.
In the 1996 World Rally Championship, he started collecting points. After finishing seventh at Acropolis Rally, he was fourth both at Rally Sanremo and Rally Catalunya. These amazing results put him to the 8th place in the championship standings, despite having only three participations.
Maiden WRC podium at 1997 Rally Portugal
In 1997, Loix was 9th in the WRC classification after his participation in six events. He was driving Toyota Celica GT-Four in five events and Toyota Corolla WRC at Rally Sanremo, where he finished fifth. In March 1997, Loix scored his first WRC podium, finishing second at Rally de Portugal.
Loix spent one more season with Toyota Castrol Team, driving a part-time schedule in the 1998 World Rally Championship. He reached two podiums with Toyota Corolla WRC, he finished second at Rallye de Portugal and third at Rally Catalunya. He was again 8th in the WRC points. Loix was successful also in the 1998 ERC (European Rally Championship), winning two Belgian rounds.
1999 - joining three-time world champion in Mitsubishi team
For the 1999 season, Loix joined Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart team, to drive full season alongside three-time world champion Tommi Makinen. For the first time as a factory driver, Loix had a struggling season with the Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo VI (in a fact, it was rebadged Lancer Evo VI).
After a retirement at Rallye Monte-Carlo and ninth place in Sweden, he almost lost his head in a horrific crash at Safari Rally in Kenya. He missed the Portuguese round and returned to Spain, finishing fourth at Rally Catalunya. The fourth place remained his best result and he repeated it in Greece, Italy and Australia. At the end of the season, Loix was 8th in the points.
Two more struggling seasons with Mitsubishi
In 2000, Loix and Makinen (now four-time champion) stayed together in the Mitsubishi's team. In the outdated car, they were no longer competitive as before. Loix was sixth in Monaco and Portugal and he finished fifth at Rally Argentina, which was his best result of the season. He finished 15th in the points.
In 2001, Loix was slightly better but again far from the podiums. His best result was the fourth place at Rally Catalunya and he ended the year as a 13th-placed driver.
Two seasons and disappointing results with Hyundai Accent WRC
For the 2002 WRC season, Freddy Loix joined Hyundai World Rally Team, to drive Hyundai Accent WRC alongside the four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen and German rally veteran Armin Schwarz. After lots of disappointing results, Loix finally earned one championship point at Rally New Zealand in October. He finished sixth.
Loix continued to drive Hyundai Accent in 2003, but since the team didn't have money for developing a new car, they withdrew from the championship after September's Rally Australia, four rounds before the end of the season.
Joining Peugeot as a replacement for Richard Burns
In November, Loix was invited by Peugeot team to replace Richard Burns at Wales Rally GB, after the British driver was forced to withdrew due to illness. Driving the #2 Peugeot 206 WRC, Loix finished sixth in Wales and earned points that put him in 14th place in the WRC classification.
During 2004, Loix returned to WRC rally stages in five events, driving Peugeot 307 WRC for the Marlboro Peugeot Total team. He scored points three times (Monaco 5th, Germany 6th, France 7th) and finished 10th in the points.
WRC retirement for Loix after 86 starts
At the end of the 2004 season, at the age of 34, Loix pulled out from the WRC and never returned to any WRC event, although he was active in the international rallying until today.
After occasional appearances in different competitions with different cars (Citroen C2 S1600, Citroen Saxo Kit Car, Peugeot 206 WRC, Suzuki Ignis S1600 and Ford Fiesta S1600) during 2005 and 2006, Loix returned to the full-time rallying in 2007, entering the Belgian Rally Championship and Intercontinental Rally Challenge. In the BRC, he was second with Volkswagen Polo S2000. In the IRC, he was driving the Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000 and he finished 19th in the points.
In 2006, Loix also participated for the first time at Dakar Rally, driving the Bowler Wildcat, but he didn't reach the finish due to technical problems. Next year, he returned to the famous desert rally-raid event, driving the Honda Buggy and finishing in 50th place.
Runner-up in the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge
For the 2008 IRC season, Loix switched to the Peugeot 207 S2000 of Peugeot Team Bel-Lux and became one of the front-runners. With three wins (Ypres, Zlin and Valais), he finished second in the points after nine races, behind his teammate Nicolas Vouilloz. Loix's navigator was Robin Buysmans.
In 2009, with the same team and the same car, but with two new co-drivers (Isidoor Smets and Frederic Miclotte), Loix missed victories in eight IRC events. He scored two podiums (Monaco and Ypres) and finished third in the points, behind Kris Meeke and Jan Kopecky.
Freddy Loix started to race with Škoda in 2010
In 2010, Freddy Loix started his successful relationship with Škoda and he had several victories and four national championship titles in the next couple of years. In the first year of Loix-Škoda connection, he was driving Škoda Fabia S2000 for private teams in the Belgian Championship and for Škoda Motorsport in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. With three wins in four IRC events, Loix captured the fourth place in the final classification. In 2011, the BFO-Škoda Rally Team ran Loix's car in both competitions. He was again in the IRC classification, with one victory in eight events.
In 2012, Loix took a break from Škoda, driving again the Peugeot 207 S2000 in the French and Belgian events. He participated in only one IRC event and finished second at Ypres Rally. In 2013, Loix clinched his maiden Belgian Rally Championship title, driving the Ford Focus RS WRC 08. He won six times with that car, adding one victory with Škoda Fabia S2000 at Ypres Rally.
Three consecutive BRC titles with Johan Gitsels and Škoda
In 2014, Loix returned to the cockpit of the Škoda Fabia S2000, driving for Duindistel team in the full season of the Belgian Rally Championship. He defended his title, together with his new co-driver Johan Gitsels.
Loix and Gitsels were victorious again in 2015, combining the old Fabia S2000 and new Fabia R5. Fourth consecutive national title followed in 2016, this time with Škoda Fabia R5 only. In 2016, Loix won six BRC events in a row, including Ypres Rally, which was also a part of the 2016 ERC.