First taste of asphalt for JWRC contenders
Stéphane Lefebvre heads youngsters into German challenge
The Frenchman, already a winner in Portugal and Poland, finished 9.4sec clear of local hero Christian Riedemann in what became a two-horse race. Third was Quentin Giordano, but he was more than 5min 30sec behind the winner.
Riedemann led after Friday’s opening loop but received a 20sec penalty for leaving service late. Debutant Eric Camilli took over at the front but crashed in the marathon Panzerplatte stage on Saturday, handing the lead to Lefebvre.
He ended the leg with almost a minute in hand over Riedemann and controlled his advantage through the final day to take his third win in four events. He can secure the crown at his home round, Rallye de France Alsace, in early October.
“We were among the frontrunners from the word go,” said Lefebvre. “When we moved into the lead we were able to control the gap. It was important to pick up some points after our mistake in Finland.”
Martin Koci remains his closer challenger, 29 points behind, despite crashing in the second pass through Panzerplatte.
Giordano and Alastair Fisher lost time with punctures but Giordano secured his third consecutive podium as he held off the Northern Irishman by 27.8sec. Simone Tempestini and Kornel Lukacs completed the finishers as Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Federico Della Casa retired with the finish in sight.
All drivers were at the wheel of Citroen DS3 R3 cars.