Ott Tänak eased through Sunday morning’s opening two speed tests at ADAC Rallye Deutschland to maintain a comfortable advantage over Andreas Mikkelsen.
Stage info: SS18/19
SS18: Losheim am See 1, 13.02km
This is a typical countryside stage on fast roads among fields and with many junctions. It is mainly single-width but includes short sections of main road to link the narrower sections. Wind turbines add to the scenery and hay bales have been positioned on the inside of some corners to stop cutting. New for 2017.
SS19: St Wendeler Land 1, 12.95km
Used for the first time this year, St Wendeler Land comprises fast and open roads in the Saarland countryside. It’s single-width throughout and two chicanes are located near the finish to keep speeds in check. The surface is smooth and clean and it may stay that way as hay bales are positioned on the inside of many corners to prevent cutting.
Third in the country roads of Losheim am See and fourth in the following St Wendeler Land on the edge of the Bostalsee service park left the Estonian 18.0sec clear with just a repeat of the two tests remaining.
“I have a good feeling at the moment. The second stage wasn’t as fast as the first, it was a bit more greasy and dirty in places. It’s very enjoyable when the grip is consistent,” said the Ford Fiesta driver.
Mikkelsen was second in the opener and third in the following test in his Citroën C3 to cast off the shadow of Sébastien Ogier behind him. The gap between the pair widened to 19.3sec.
“It’s difficult to catch all the time to Ott but we have to try to keep the pressure on, there’s nothing else we can do,” said the Norwegian.
With a big haul of points at stake, Ogier seems to have settled for third, preferring to chase bonus points in the final Power Stage. “That would be the plan, but it’s never easy. Now we just recce the stage, checking the notes,” said the Frenchman.
Juho Hänninen regained fourth place that he lost to Elfyn Evans last night. The Toyota Yaris man was fastest in Losheim am See to overhaul the Welshman, who overshot a corner and stalled his Fiesta’s engine.
The Finn took more time in St Wendeler Land as Evans admitted opting for soft compound tyres on the Fiesta was the wrong choice. The gap is 13.1sec and Evans has only 7.1sec in hand over a chasing Craig Breen.
Esapekka Lappi was fastest in St Wendeler Land after an analysis of his driving style last night reaped instant rewards.
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