Thursday | 25 Aug 2016

Germany driver report: part 2

Here's part two of our driver-by-driver review of ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) Result: 3rd
A podium finish capped another great performance from a determined Neuville - even if falling short of second place by one-tenth led to some mixed reactions at the end of the Power Stage. The Belgian [above] was back at his motivated best, locked in a thrilling scrap at the top of the leaderboard despite having his share of isues to overcome. Set-up changes cured the 'undriveable' nature of his car on day one, and he balanced problems like broken power steering, bent wheels and a trip through a field with the highs of five stage wins and a maximum bonus on the Power Stage. Bodes well for Corsica.

Sebastien Ogier (VW Polo R) Result: 1st
World Rally Championship events rarely go according to plan, but for Ogier this one did. Pre-event, he explained how he aimed to keep out of trouble on day one, build an advantage on day two and then manage it on the final day. And that's exactly what he did - except for a slight blip on Sunday morning when he backed off a little too much. Once again, it was Panzerplatte where he made the difference, thanks largely to his ability to get the most out of his tyres. A well deserved and well executed victory.

Mads Østberg (Ford Fiesta RS) Result: 6th
Tarmac is the Norwegian's least favourite road surface and this rally won't have changed his opinion. Looking on the positive side, he had a very reliable run. But his speed just wasn't there, and by the end of day one he was in seventh position and more than 1m 30s off the lead. Why? He couldn't really explain. Ostberg and his team played with different set-ups to try and improve things, but as the event wore on, and he drifted further from the leaders, you got the sense that Østberg just wanted to get this one over and done with. 

Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) Result: 5th
In his own worlds, Paddon's opening day was 'a lively one'. The Kiwi racked-up a spin and puncture on the opening two stages, then followed this with the biggest near-miss of his career in Mittelmosel when his Hyundai fishtailed down the road in sixth gear, scattering most of its aero kit in the process. If Friday was about exploring limits, Saturday was about tidying things up, but this wasn't helped by a couple of poor tyre gambles. Sunday offered more chances to develop his Tarmac technique and car set-up with a view to the upcoming round in Corsica. Fifth position wasn't a bad result considering his rough start.

Stephane Lefebvre (DS 3 WRC) Result: Retired
Lefebvre's game plan for the rally was working well before the shocking crash on Saturday's Panzerplatte Lang that put him and co-driver Gabin Moreau in hospital. The Frenchman adopted a cautious approach through Friday's vineyard stages but took things up a level on Saturday morning. A shrewd choice of hard-compound Michelin tyres gave him an edge in the Panzerplatte complex, and he was fastest and second-fastest on the two opening sprints with Ott Tänak's fifth position in his sights on the 40km stage that followed. Despite their injuries, both drivers have paid tribute to the protective strength of their car. We wish them both a speedy recovery.


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