Dani Sordo claimed a Panzerplatte hat-trick at ADAC Rallye Deutschland when he won all three Saturday afternoon speed tests over the abrasive tank training roads.
Stage info: SS13-15
SS13/14: Arena Panzerplatte SSS 2/3, 2.87km
A short stage for the fans and a warm-up for the drivers on the daunting Baumholder military ranges ahead of the monster test to follow. The roads are wide and there is a mixture of surfaces, covering smooth and broken asphalt, cobble stones and bumpy concrete. There are many junctions in a stage which is identical to last year.
SS15: Panzerplatte 2, 41.97km
The longest stage of the rally and one of the toughest of the season with 93 junctions packed into less than 42km. The surface changes constantly and many roads are lined with hinkelsteins, massive concrete kerbs designed to keep tanks on the military tracks. It has everything – wide, narrow and mid-sized roads and surfaces ranking from smooth asphalt to cobbles. Slippery sand coats the surface in the dry while in the wet conditions are treacherous.
Dry and sunny conditions suited the Spaniard and he won both passes through the short Arena Panzerplatte before adding a third victory with fastest time in the monster 41.97km test that followed.
Sordo briefly led this 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship yesterday before plunging off the road and down the bank. He returned in his Hyundai i20 today under Rally 2 rules.
“I enjoyed these stages a lot more now,” he said. “I’m disappointed about the mistake on the first day but we work on things like the differentials now and the car works well.”
It was status quo at the top of the leaderboard. Ott Tänak stretched his lead slightly over Andreas Mikkelsen after setting top three times in all three stages in his Ford Fiesta.
Mikkelsen lost a couple of seconds after stalling his Citroën C3 at the start of SS14, but the Norwegian recovered well to post second fastest time in the long stage. The gap between the pair is 25.2sec with two more tests remaining in today’s penultimate leg.
Sébastien Ogier drove at a measured pace to retain third, still well in touch with Mikkelsen at 7.7sec behind. Juho Hänninen relegated Elfyn Evans from fourth in his Toyota Yaris, but the Finn was concerned about a possible broken damper after the long test.
Toyota team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi hanged punctures in their Yaris cars, Latvala retaining seventh place behind Craig Breen and ahead of Hayden Paddon.
Kris Meeke retired his C3 after the short stages with a suspected broken water pump, while Jan Kopecký yielded his WRC 2 lead to Eric Camilli after changing a puncture.
SS11/12: Tänak pulls clear
Estonian makes the most of Mikkelsen mistakes
SS9/10: Neuville out
WRC leader retires in Germany
Friday in Germany Tänak leads on rain-lashed asphalt
Lead changes hands four times in opening day