Volkswagen’s Sébastien Ogier returned to the top step of the WRC podium at ADAC Rallye Deutschland as he successfully brought an end to his six-event winless streak. The Frenchman’s 20.3s victory was the third of his WRC career on Germany’s challenging asphalt roads and extended his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship standings by 14 points. VW remain in command of the manufacturers’ championship, thanks to a 55-point buffer the winin the ADAC Rally Deutschland marks their second in a row.
Having endured a difficult start to the rally on leg one when he overshot a hairpin, Ogier carefully guided his Polo R towards the top of the leaderboard. When the event moved into the infamous Baumholder military proving ground, the world champion’s experience shone through and he easily swept team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen aside.
Extremely difficult conditions, ranging from dry asphalt to wet concrete, made tire selection a real challenge all weekend. However Ogier was able to control his pace at the front on the final leg and emerged from the ninth round of the championship with an advantage over Hyundai’s Dani Sordo.
“This is great,” Ogier said at the finish. “I haven’t had a chance to win on the recent rallies and I was missing that feeling for sure. It’s been really exciting and a long time since I was battling like this for a win. I really had to push to beat the guys around me.”
The highlight of the final day was the battle that ensued behind Ogier for second place. Mikkelsen held the position until Sunday’s first stage, but he was steadily reeled in by the Hyundai i20 WRC pair of Sordo and Thierry Neuville as their superior speed told. With only 4.1s separating all three drivers entering the 14.84km Power Stage, success would need to be earned. Although Neuville topped the Power Stage times with a determined drive and scored an extra three championship points for his efforts, Sordo’s fourth fastest time was just enough to guarantee second place overall – by a margin of just 0.1s!
Neuville claimed the final podium spot, while a disappointed Mikkelsen – who narrowly avoided a couple of Power Stage spins as he lost the brakes on his Polo R – had to settle for fourth. Completing the top six and the list of WRC that survived the rally distance, Hayden Paddon was a further three minutes behind in his Hyundai, while Mads Østberg had a frustrating time as he could only guide his Ford Fiesta RS to sixth place.
DMACK World Rally Team driver Ott Tänak retired on day two with an alternator-related problem, while Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala and M-Sport World Rally Team driver Eric Camilli both retired on day one. All three drivers returned to action under Rally 2. Tänak reached the finish in 23rd place, while Latvala scored two championship points with the second fastest Power Stage time and finished 48th overall. Camilli was 50th in the final classification.
Next up for the WRC is the Tour De Corse Rally of France from the 29th of September to the 2nd of October.
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Germany – Final Results
1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, 3h 00m 26.7s
2. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 20.3s
3. Thierry Neuville/NicolasGilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 20.4s
4. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 27.2s
5. Hayden Paddon/JohnKennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 3m 34.8s
6. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 4m 31.2s
7. Esapekka Lappi/JanneFerm (FIN/FIN), Škoda, + 8m36.8s
8. Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S), Škoda, + 8m 52.5s
9. Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ), Škoda, +9m 44.2s
10. Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer (D/D), Škoda, + 10m 10.6s