Surprise, surprise! Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sebastien Ogier/Julien Igrassia are leading the WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland after the opening day’s two stages.
In near-perfect rally conditions, the WRC event started with slippery and tight SS1 Blankenheim (23.54km). Many of the top ten WRC crews bemoaned understeering cars, but sweeping the road and setting the fastest stage time was Ogier with team-mate Latvala hot on his race boot heels. Qatar M-Sport’s Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul scored third place, and repeated this for SS2 Sauertal (14.10km) behind Ogier and Latvala.
Ogier leads at the end of Day One with a 5.7sec over Latvala. Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Abu Dhabi Citroën World Rally Team) are fourth and 20.5sec off Ogier, leading team-mates Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen in fifth.
It was not an auspicious start to the event for Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team), crashing out on the third turn of the first stage. Stranding their Ford Fiesta RS WRC, they were unable to get their car back onto the road. It is unclear at the time of writing whether they will restart under Super Rally rules on Day One. Similar fate befell PG Andersson/Emil Axelsson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC), and they suffered from an overheating engine on the open section to the start of SS1 to compound their problems. They wisely retired from the event to repair their car for a Super Rally restart on Day Two.
Robert Kubica/Maciej Baran (Citroën DS3 RRC) leads the WRC2 field with a gap of 14.9sec. Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team) are giving their Ford Fiesta R5 another good outing, with second place in Class. Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (Skoda Fabia S2000) is third overall, 23.2sec behind Kubica.
WRC3 sees a big battle already brewing for Day Two. Sebastien Chardonnet/Thibo de la Haye (Citroën DS3 R3T lead this Class once more, leading Christian Reidemann/Lara Vanneste (Citroën DS3 R3T) by 3.3sec and Quentin Gilbert/Isabelle Galmiche (Citroën DS3 R3T) by 5.5sec.
The Junior WRC crews are once more providing close action. In their first asphalt event of the season, Jose Suarez/Candido Carrera lead Pontus Tidemand/Ola Floene by 10.4sec and Yeray Lemes/Rogelio Penate by 12.7sec. A great start for Suarez in this hotly contested Class of Ford Fiesta R2s.
Tomorrow sees crews tackle six stages for 131.36km of competition. First sage starts at 10h43.
Top Ten Overall Classifcation:
01) S. Ogier/J. Ingrassia
Volkswagen Polo R WRC – 19m 33.2s
02) J-M. Latvala/M. Anttila
Volkswagen Polo R WRC + 05.7s
03) T. Neuville/N. Gilsoul
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 12.7s
04) D. Sordo/C. Del Barrio
Citroën DS3 WRC + 20.5s
05) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen
Citroën DS3 WRC + 25.7s
06) M. Ostberg/J. Andersson
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 30.7s
07) N. Al-Attiyah/G. Bernacchini
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 41.4s
08) M. Prokop/M. Ernst
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 45.6s
09) M. Kosciuszko/M. Szcezepaniak
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 51.0s
10) R. Kubica/M. Baran
Citroën DS3 RRC + 59.8s