Germany debrief: part 2

We reflect on last week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland at which this most unpredictable of WRC seasons took yet another twist.

Drive of the Rally
If anything shouted ‘come and get me’ to team principals it was Andreas Mikkelsen’s drive to second on his first asphalt appearance in a Citroën C3.

There were a few unscheduled trips into fields but it was a fine performance from the Norwegian and put smiles back on faces in the French corner of the service park.

When and where will we see him again? Hopefully it won’t be long…….

Quote of the Rally
Ott Tänak never wastes words. His answers to media questions are usually short, to the point and frequently laced with dry humour.

As he coolly measured his pace through Sunday’s final leg to claim his second career win, the Estonian had a close encounter with a hay bale chicane in the first pass through the St Wendeler Land special stage.

His Ford Fiesta ended the test with both wing mirrors ripped off, to which Tänak quipped: “It’s good for aerodynamics!”

Andreas Mikkelsen - driver of the rally

Stage of the Rally
After Friday’s torrential rain, the day-ending Wadern-Weiskirchen test threw up plenty more drama. It was the third pass over mega-slippery mud-covered country lanes and it wasn’t the place to be a hero.

Several frontrunners were caught out. Tänak beached his Fiesta in the mud, Thierry Neuville went off and collected a branch in his Hyundai i20’s rear spoiler, Sébastien Ogier dropped 20sec with a spin and Craig Breen slithered into a field.

One to Forget
It would be easy to load more criticism on Kris Meeke after his accident with a concrete barrier in the opening Saarbrücken test which broke his C3’s steering and led to another dispiriting rally.

However, we can’t ignore Hyundai Motorsport’s shocker. Hoping for an upturn in fortunes after a poor weekend in Finland, the Korean manufacturer had an even worse event.

True, Dani Sordo led briefly. But the Spaniard plunged down a hillside into the undergrowth soon after and trailed home 34th. Neuville’s title hopes took a knock when his rear suspension broke in the Arena Panzerplatte stage and he finished 44th.

Only Hayden Paddon troubled the scorers in the drivers’ standings, claiming eighth after punctures delayed the Kiwi. The net result was a 64-point deficit to M-Sport World Rally Team in the manufacturers’ points, and the title is theirs to lose.

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