Dramatic end to opening day in Germany
Latvala leads as team-mate Ogier crashes
The Frenchman was leading by 5.5sec when his Polo R left the road, 7km into the repeated Moselland test, which snakes up the side of the Mosel valley.
Ogier’s car speared through undergrowth and down the hillside, but remained on its wheels, eventually dropping onto an access road below. The car was virtually undamaged, but was marooned off rally route, which forced his retirement from the day.
“I did a mistake when I braked too late into the corner,” Ogier explained. “It was a kind of blind corner where this morning I was too early on the brakes. On the repeat I wanted to be more accurate, but I was too late. It was not a big mistake – just a little too late and a little too wide but the road narrowed and I went off.”
“I have to be happy that the consequences were not worse and the car was not damaged. We slid down a very steep slope and luckily the car didn’t roll. If it did, it could have been quite bad. Okay, we lost the race, but nothing more.”
The retirement was Ogier’s second in two years at the home round of his Volkswagen team. In 2013 he also retired from the lead on the opening day when he slid wide and damaged his front suspension.
Ogier will rejoin on Saturday with a 10 minute penalty and a fresh set of objectives. “I’m going to check the gap but I think there is almost no chance to get in the top ten, maybe the only points we can catch this weekend are on the Power Stage.
“We will also try to prepare for the next tarmac events, because this morning I was not happy with the car. This afternoon it started to be okay and I began to enjoy a lot the driving. And then this happened. It’s a shame.”