Saturday | 16 Aug 2014

Germany countdown: flashback to 2013

There was a surprise name at the top of the final ADAC Rallye Deutschland leaderboard in 2013. It was that of Dani Sordo.

Having shown huge promise on asphalt rallies during a WRC career spanning almost 10 years, the Spaniard had failed to deliver a win on his favoured surface. But that unwanted statistic was assigned to the history books in Germany last season.

As expected, the early pacesetters in 2013 were the VW pairing of world champion-elect, Sebastien Ogier, and his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. Both men were competing on the German manufacturer’s home soil and desperately wanted to do well.

But they were both left wanting after suffering accidents. Ogier crashed out early on the second day and Latvala lost valuable time on the penultimate day when he also left the road.

Sordo fought back hard on the final day

With others suffering trouble, Sordo and M-Sport’s Thierry Neuville got their heads down in a fierce battle for the rally lead. Neuville held a 19s lead at the end of the second leg, before Sordo fought back on the penultimate day to take the lead by only 0.8s.

That meant a titanic final day battle was in store and the race for victory came down to the very last stage. Sordo started the 24.58km stage with a slender 3s advantage but Neuville fought back to leave both men equal on time at the final stage split. The last 4km would be crucial.

Sadly for Neuville, the excitement of the battle got to him and his Ford Fiesta RS WRC slid off the road on a fast left-hand bend with only 3km left to run. The time he lost in the vineyards handed victory to Sordo. His final winning margin was 53s.

Neuville recovered to finish second

“It’s a great moment for me,” said an emotional Sordo at the finish. “Thierry was pushing so hard. He was a little slower than me at first but then he was faster so I needed to push harder. I was so nervous at the start but this win is something I’ve dreamed of for many years.”

With Neuville recovering to finish second, Mikko Hirvonen claimed third place in his Citroen DS3 – albeit 1m 43.1s off Neuville’s pace.

Privateer Martin Prokop matched his career-best result as he finished fourth in his Fiesta WRC, while WRC 2 winner, Robert Kubica, and Elfyn Evans rounded out the top six.

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