Sébastien Ogier believes that, like last year, his victory at ADAC Rallye Deutschland was down to superior tyre management skills on the Panzerplatte stage.
The win at the weekend was the reigning champion's first since Sweden in February and propelled him to a 59-point lead in the drivers' standings.
Outpaced early on by Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, Ogier edged his way to top spot on Saturday before romping away on the fast and abrasive roads of the 40km Panzerplatte Lang stage in the Baumholder military complex and building an advantage that proved untouchable.
"Like last year the difference happened at Panzerplatte. It is so demanding for the tyres. It looks like one of my strengths here is to manage the tyres a little bit better than my rivals on this stage. If you look at the speed to the end, it was there that I made the difference," said Ogier, who acknowledged that the choice of hard or soft compound Michelin rubber had not been straightforward.
"It was a proper Rallye Deutschland with proper ‘Deutsch’ weather. It was extremely difficult to make the tyre choice. Most of the time we had a good compromise, but never really the perfect choice. But the most important thing was that we had a solution that kept us going with good speed," he said.
Ogier's supreme ability to get the most from his tyres has been behind many of his WRC successes and he denied that he had done anything special in Germany.
"There is no secret, it's nothing really special, it's just saving the tyres," he told wrc.com. "It's all about the three parameters that you can control; the way you accelerate, brake and turn the steering wheel. If there is a secret, it is to do that smoothly - and it's a challenge to do that while still carrying a lot of speed.
"I don't have the feeling that I drive any differently in Panzerplatte. Maybe the ground fits well with my style, but I don't change anything. If you look at the rest of the rally then tyre wear is never an issue anyway - that's the only place where we have tyre wear issues.
"It's always good to have some small advantage compared to your rivals," he added.
The Panzerplatte cushion meant Ogier could ease off the pace a little on Sunday's final leg, but he admitted he got a shock on the day's opener when Dani Sordo trimmed his overnight advantage from 33.4sec to 22.1sec.
"I think I forgot to set my wake-up call," Ogier joked. "When I saw Dani’s time on the first stage, I lied a bit to Julien [Ingrassia] that it was okay, but it was more than I wanted, for sure."