Thursday | 27 Aug 2015

Germany driver report: Part two

Part two of our driver analysis from ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20)
This was a strong event for Neuville [above], who delivered a good haul of points to ease Hyundai past Citroën in the manufacturers' standings. Like many drivers, he was uncomfortable in the slippery conditions on the opening day, but he sparkled on days two and three when he fought a close battle with team-mate Dani Sordo. While he lost that fight, he was satisfied that he had wrung all he could out of the i20 WRC.

Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen Polo R)
Another flawless performance from the Frenchman who began the rally with a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders. The battle with his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala should have gone only as far a Panzerplatte, when Ogier's confidence in the slippery sections earned him an unassailable lead. Instead, Latvala's desire to keep pushing forced Ogier to keep his own speed up well into the final day. A home victory took priority over a Power Stage win, but with such a healthy championship lead he didn't need the bonus points this time.

Kris Meeke (DS 3)
Germany was the second in a trio of rallies that Citroën boss Yves Matton is using to evaluate his drivers. Sadly for Kris, it was another potentially great event ruined by a single, costly error. It started perfectly, and on the opening five stages Meeke was closest to the runaway speed of the Volkswagens. But on stage six he got caught out on a patch of gravel and damaged a compression strut. The subsequent time loss dropped him way down the order. To prove a point, he thumped in plenty of top three times after the incident - including second fastest on the Power Stage - but Kris's speed has never been in question. He desperately needs a trouble-free event in Australia.

Martin Prokop (Ford Fiesta RS)
This was another rally to forget for the Czech driver. An over-confident start came to an end when he went off early on Friday afternoon and hit a tree, leaving him to nurse a damaged car through the rest of the leg. Saturday was pretty much a write-off, with a broken drive-shaft leaving his Fiesta in three-wheel drive for the whole morning and a costly puncture ruining his afternoon. He bowed-out of Sunday's competition on the opening stage when he collected two punctures and had just one spare.

Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen Polo R)
Mikkelsen had a solid run to third place after an over cautious opening day dropped him out of the fight for the lead. By Saturday morning he was in no man's land - too far behind his team-mates to mount a challenge and sufficiently ahead of the drivers behind that he didn't need to take risks. Mikkelsen was so comfortable in his position that from Saturday afternoon he began testing different differentials in preparation from Corsica. Brought the car home safely on Sunday for a well deserved podium.

Stephane Lefebvre (DS 3)
Lefebvre's first competitive outing in a World Rally Car was a great success and tenth place on his debut was just what he wanted. The Frenchman stuck strictly to his Citroën team's instructions and kept out of trouble, gradually reducing the gap on the front runners. He almost bagged a stage win on SS12 but lost out, by five-tenths, to Ogier. Citroën boss Yves Matton said Lefebvre's result was "beyond expectations."

Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta RS)
Evans showed he had pace-setting speed in Germany but his overall performance was let down by inconsistency. The Welshman was the only driver other than Ogier and Latvala to secure a stage win on Sunday morning's Stein & Wein and he came close to bagging another on one of his favourites, Grafschaft, on Saturday morning. But Evans was unable to match his morning pace when the temperatures rose for the afternoon repeats. He has promised lost of hard work behind the scenes before the next Tarmac counter in Corsica.

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Video: Germany review