But many of his class rivals could only recount stories of woe after an incident-packed day on the challenging asphalt event.
After snatching the lead from Thierry Neuville on stage two, Weijs hadn’t put a wheel wrong in his Citroen C2 Super 1600 until the final test when he was distracted by his car’s instrument display and momentarily left the road on a right-hander.
“It wasn’t such a big problem because we only lost a few seconds,” said the Dutchman. “Apart from that mistake it has been a perfect day and now I can control the rally having pushed from the beginning.”
It was a different story for countryman and championshipp leader Kevin Abbring, who crashed his Renault Clio R3 into retirement on the very first stage, fortunately without injury to neither he nor co-driver Erwin Mombaerts.
“The back jumped a few times and slightly hit a wall, which took the front into the wall and we came on the roof for 50 metres,” said Abbring, who miraculously is set to restart under SupeRally regulations on Saturday following repairs to his damaged Clio.
Belgian Neuville, the J-WRC winner in Bulgaria, also failed to complete Friday’s route. After struggling to find a workable set-up following a crash in pre-event shakedown on Thursday, Neuville was second in class when he noticed drops of water on his C2’s windscreen on stage six.
“The cooling fan on the engine came off and broke the radiator,” said Neuville’s French co-driver Nicolas Klinger. “Because the engine temperatures started to rise we had no choice but to switch it off. These things can happen but we’re not going to give up and will come back tomorrow.”
Neuville’s retirement should have promoted Mathieu Arzeno into second but the Frenchman’s C2 suffered an engine problem on stage five and a puncture on stage six. He fell to fourth as a result behind Yeray Lemes and Aaron Burkart, who were both in the wars.
Lemes, from the Canary Islands, limped through Friday’s final stage with his Clio S1600’s rear suspension badly damaged following a moment on stage five, while local hero Aaron Burkart suffered a huge moment of his own on Friday’s opening stage when he slid into an Armco barrier on a fast downhill section after picking up a right-rear puncture on his Suzuki Swift.
Estonian Karl Kruuda is fifth in another Suzuki, despite a puncture on stage four. German Christian Riedemann completes the top six in his Ford Fiesta R2.
Another driver in trouble on day one was Bulgarian Todor Slavov, who broke his Clio R3’s right-rear wheel sliding into a wall on stage three.
Follow this link to see the Rally Deutschland J-WRC stage times.
"Apart from that mistake it has been a perfect day and now I can control the rally having pushed from the beginning."