Sousa heads WRC2 in Germany
Portuguese driver heads standings after opening day of action
The Frenchman moved his Ford Fiesta R5 to the front for the second time in the final marathon Panzerplatte military area test. He holds a 1min 11.7sec advantage over Ott Tänak’s similar car, with Armin Kremer’s Skoda Fabia S2000 10.5sec further back.
Overnight leader Bernardo Sousa lost the lead to Pontus Tidemand in the opening test and plunged down the order after changing a puncture in the first pass through Panzerplatte. He later retired with front suspension damage to his Fiesta RRC.
Tidemand led for much of the day in his Fiesta R5 but Maurin overhauled him twice in Panzerplatte, the first occasion when hard tyres gave him an advantage and the second time when the Swede punctured. Tidemand overnights in fourth, 7.6sec behind Kremer.
Neither Tänak nor Kremer had major problems, the Estonian climbing from fourth to second in the final test.
Nasser Al-Attiyah is fifth after a troubled day. He lost a minute with a rear right puncture in his Fiesta RRC before dropping nearly five minutes after sliding into a ditch. He ended the day with gearbox problems in the last stage.
Rashid Al Ketbi is a distant sixth after a misfiring engine added to his problems earlier in the rally.
Sébastien Chardonnet crashed after being distracted by an engine problem in his Citroen DS3 R5 and Marty McCormack stopped with a broken steering arm.