Wednesday | 26 Aug 2015

Germany driver report: Part one

We analyse how the top drivers fared on the asphalt challenge of ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Mads Østberg (DS 3)
There wasn't a lot of fight in Mads [above] in Germany. After the third stage he admitted the Volkswagens were too fast to catch and that he had no idea what to do. From that point on he concentrated on his own driving. And while he was reliable, and declared himself happy with his tarmac-driving progression, the times were nothing to smile about. Seventh place is less that we'd expect for a man with his experience. Team boss Yves Matton said Mads "had showed he was capable of fighting in the midfield." He can do better than that.

Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20)
Sordo is a previous winner in Germany and you could sense his frustration early on when he realised there was almost no chance of a repeat this time. But while the Volkswagens were powering into the distance, Sordo found himself in a satisfying battle for fourth with his team-mate, and fellow past Germany winner, Thierry Neuville. Hampered occasionally by handbrake and gear selection issues, Sordo found his best form on the final day. He ended the event in a strong fourth place, best of the non VW runners, with a bonus point for third-fastest on the Power Stage.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R)
Latvala was rarely comfortable in Germany and although his did lead the rally on Friday, he struggled on the dirtier roads with understeer and getting his braking right. He remained in touch with Sébastien Ogier until Saturday's long Panzerplatte tests, when his team-mate pulled away. From then on, Jari-Matti's challenge was to balance his desire for stage wins with the need to bring the car home for VW on its crucial home round. Considering the high stakes, his Power Stage win came as a surprise - especially to Ogier - but Jari-Matti got the job done.

Robert Kubica (Ford Fiesta RS)
Germany proved to be another tough event for Kubica who lost any chance of a decent result before the start, when a late engine change earned him a five minute penalty. His motivation took a further hit on stage seven when he went off into the vines and lost five minutes and his windscreen. Saturday started smoothly enough, but ended prematurely when he broke his Fiesta's suspension on a hinkelstein. He returned on Sunday, but was unhappy with how his car was handling. Having chosen to miss Australia, Kubica now has some extra time to regroup before the next asphalt round in Corsica.

Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20)
After a run of gravel events, the return to asphalt was a bit like going back to school for Paddon, who was back in learning and experience building mode. The Kiwi wisely took his time to get a feel for the stages on day one but was starting to lose patience with himself by day two when he felt his times should have been more competitive. The subsequent discovery of a faulty turbo answered many questions and Paddon declared himself satisfied with what he had achieved.

Ott Tänak (Ford Fiesta RS)
Ott had not driven a World Rally Car in Germany for three years and his inexperience showed on the first stage when he punted his Fiesta off into a field and hit a barrier. Worse was to come on Saturday when he went off on Panzerplatte and lost a minute trying to get the car restarted. From then on Germany was a learning opportunity and he set some encouraging times in the process, notably fourth-fastest on SS14 and the Power Stage.

Kevin Abbring (Hyundai i20)
Germany was Abbring's third event with the team and he was surprised by how unfamiliar the car felt on the opening day's stages. A diff swap improved things, but the Dutchman struggled for confidence, especially under braking, and set-up changes seemed to make things worse. A new set-up midway through Saturday's competition brought a fresh start, and Abbring grew in speed and confidence as the event went on. The experience should mean he is better prepared for his next round in Corsica.

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Video: Germany review