Wine, tanks and beautiful countryside – an unlikely mix for a world rally but a trio that combines at ADAC Rallye Deutschland (22 - 25 August) to form the toughest asphalt fixture of the WRC season.
• The Bostalsee lake service park is the rally hub. Thursday evening’s start and Sunday afternoon’s podium ceremony take place there. It also hosts morning and evening service as well as mid-leg visits on Friday and Saturday. Plenty to see and do in a stunning location.
• Saturday afternoon’s Baumholder military stages. As well as the fearsome hinkelsteins, the Gina jump always proves spectacular with cars logging 40 metre flights.
• Grape growers must despair when the WRC comes to town. Rows of vines regularly fall victim to over-ambitious drivers, but it makes for spectacular viewing.
Bumpy and narrow corkscrew vineyard tracks, daunting multi-surface tank training roads and smooth country lanes make a unique challenge in south-west Germany as the WRC’s stars revert to an asphalt mindset for the first time in almost five months.
The territory maybe familiar, but the challenge is no less daunting for round 10 of the season and the final all-asphalt encounter of the year.
The stunning Bostalsee lake in northern Saarland forms the rally hub and it is from there that competitors depart for Thursday night’s opening St Wendeler Land (5.20km) speed test. It is the shortest of the weekend and one that drivers will be up to speed with having already driven it several times earlier in the day at shakedown.
Friday’s is unchanged from 2018 and focuses on the Mosel vineyard service roads. Stein und Wein (19.44km) and Mittelmosel (22.00km) are littered with tight hairpins before the action switches to the tricky lapping stage at Wadern-Weiskirchen (9.27km), which weaves through open fields.
A double loop through the three tests, separated by service in Bostalsee, adds up to 101.42km.
A new-look Saturday features country road tests in Saarland all morning. A double run through Freisen (14.78km) and Römerstraße (12.28km) is followed by service.
The afternoon is all about the intimidating multi-surfaced Baumholder military ranges. Arena Panzerplatte (10.73km) and the marathon Panzerplatte (41.17km) are abrasive, packed with awkward junctions and lined by massive car-breaking hinkelstein kerbstones.
Both are driven twice in the opposite direction to last year, split by the respite of service and new tyres at Bostalsee. The shorter arena test features the fan-favourite Gina jump.
It’s back to the grapes for Sunday’s finale. Two runs through Grafshaft (28.06km) and Dhrontal (11.69km) complete the 19 stages covering 344.04km. The second pass through Dhrontal forms the thrilling bonus point finale as the Wolf Power Stage.