This week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland (18-21 August) is the first all-asphalt event of the 2016 season and marks the beginning of what could be a key phase in the race for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship titles.
The Trier-based event is the first pure asphalt rally of the season and the crews know that if they want to join or remain in the championship race, they have to switch on their sealed surface skills from the opening kilometre after a series of six gravel rounds.
But Rallye Deutschland isn’t an event where the crews can ease themselves in gently. With three distinctly different types of roads making up the 18-stage route, the ninth round of the championship will once again be supremely technical and demand respect.
After starting on Thursday night with a customary ceremony in front of the historic Porta Nigra gate in Trier, the competitive action will get underway on Friday morning when the crews head into the vineyards of the Moselle region to run on the narrow, dusty and fast service roads that meander through the fruit.
A revised 22km version of the Mittelmosel stage kicks things off before a blast through the slightly longer Moselland test. Both stages are repeated in the afternoon before the day culminates with the brand-new 8.21km circuit stage at Ollmuth. Fans should be able to see most of the action on this spectator-friendly stage thanks to the naturally terraced hillside stands.
Saturday's leg takes the crews on to the high-speed country roads of the Saarland region.
The 14.7km Freisen-Westrich stage and the Bosenberg test get things underway before the route heads into the military proving grounds at Baumholder.
As in 2015, the iconic hinkelstein-littered Panzerplatte will be the scene of five stages: a 2.87km sprint, which will be run three times, and a 40.8km monster that will be tackled twice – once at the end of the first loop and once at the end of the day.
The third and final day features two stages that will be run twice. The 14.79km Dhrontal stage, famous for its long sequences of hairpin turns, gets things underway on Sunday morning, before the running of the 14.84km Sauertal test near the Luxembourg border.
The second pass of Sauertal will act as the rally-closing Power Stage in 2016, where the crews will be bidding to win extra championship points.
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