Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia powered to a second consecutive victory in Rallye Deutschland, Volkswagen’s home round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The French duo was able to control their advantage over the closing stages to notch up their third victory of the season. The battle for second went down to the wire with a three-way fight between Hyundai team-mates Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville and Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen. In the end, Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti clinched the position by a mere one-tenth of a second over Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Mikkelsen missing out when he lost the brakes and ran wide twice in the deciding Power Stage.
In the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers, Ogier extends his lead to 59 points over Mikkelsen with Neuville and Hayden Paddon on equal points in third position. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, Volkswagen Motorsport has a 55 point advantage over Hyundai Motorsport with four rounds remaining.
Today’s route was the shortest and covered two repeated stages and 59.26 competitive kilometres. With more than 30 seconds in hand overnight, Ogier was able to pace himself over the final stages and, without putting a foot wrong, the reigning World Champion celebrated his 35th WRC career victory by a winning margin of 20.3 seconds. It was however the battle behind him that caught the attention. Going into the day, Mikkelsen, Sordo and Neuville were separated by just four seconds but with a great run through the opening stage, Sordo was able to move into second with the fastest time as Mikkelsen lost the feeling with the brakes and Neuville ran wide in the final corner. Neuville won the following stage to overhaul Mikkelsen and despite the Norwegian pushing to the limit, he dropped back to fourth. The second run through the first stage was then cancelled for safety reasons, leaving the battling trio to fight for honours in the final Power Stage. Again, Neuville posted the fastest time but it was just one-tenth of a second too slow after 306.08 competitive kilometres to deny team-mate Sordo the second place.
Behind fourth-placed Mikkelsen, who led the event at the end of the first day, Hayden Paddon finished fifth nearly a minute ahead of Mads Østberg. Unable to improve his position, Paddon spent most of the day testing different settings for the next asphalt round of the Championship in Corsica.
Esapekka Lappi finished a fine seventh overall in his Škoda Fabia R5 and won the FIA WRC 2 Championship category. The Finn, fourth in the series, needed to capitalise in Germany being that none of his closest rivals were registered for points on the event. Škoda R5 machinery filled the remaining positions in the top 10; Pontus Tidemand, not registered here, was eighth, and Jan Kopecky and Armin Kremer were ninth and 10th respectively, both taking podium positions in the WRC 2 category.
In the FIA Junior WRC Championship, Simone Tempestini is one step closer to taking the title with two rounds remaining. The Italian won two of the day’s three stages and takes the maximum Junior points for the third time this season from four events. Martin Koci, in an earlier fight with Tempestini, finished second after a spin in the first stage this morning, and Terry Folb claimed third in the category, the Frenchman winning the final stage.
Following the cancellation of Rally China, the next outing for the FIA World Rally Championship contenders will be on the island of Corsica for Rallye de France (29 September-2 October).
Rallye Deutschland – Unofficial Final Classification
|1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia||Volkswagen Polo R WRC||3hr 00min 26.7sec|
|2. Dani Sordo/Marc Marti||Hyundai i20 WRC||3hr 00min 47.0sec|
|3. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai i20 WRC||3hr 00min 47.1sec|
|4. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger||Volkswagen Polo R WRC||3hr 00min 53.9sec|
|5. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard||Hyundai i20 WRC||3hr 04min 01.5sec|
|6. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||3hr 04min 57.9sec|
|7. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm||Škoda Fabia R5||3hr 09min 03.5sec|
|8. Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson||Škoda Fabia R5||3hr 09min 19.2sec|
|9. Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler||Škoda Fabia R5||3hr 10min 10.9sec|
|10. Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer||Škoda Fabia R5||3hr 10min 37.3sec|