A bumper entry of 89 cars will contest the next round of the FIA World Rally Championship, ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
The Trier-based event is the first true asphalt rally of the season and takes place between 21-24 August.
As well as welcoming the usual factory cars from Citroen, Hyundai, Volkswagen and M-Sport, ADAC Rallye Deutschland will also play host to a clutch of talented WR Car privateers and drivers competing in the WRC 2 series, FIA Junior World Rally Championship and the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.
Among the leading privateer drivers bidding to force their way into the top ten will be Dennis Kuipers who is something of an asphalt expert on events in Holland and Belgium, and fellow Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver Yuriy Protasov. The Ukranian is second in the WRC 2 championship standings but will be having a break from the category in Germany as his final nominated point scoring round is Coates Hire Rally Australia in September.
He has therefore opted to take the wheel of an M-Sport-run WR Car for the first time in Germany and will be hoping to show what he can do in faster machinery.
Rich Millener, M-Sport’s client liaison manager, said: “Yuriy is an ambitious driver and he’s keen to move up into a WR Car when the time is right. Germany will be his first experience behind the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC and it’s an opportunity for him to show where he is in the car against the other drivers.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah is the highest seed in the nine-strong WRC 2 category, but he’ll be pushed hard by Ott Tanak who will be looking to claw back a 21-point deficit in the race to the top of the WRC 2 points table.
In the JWRC category, Stephane Lefebvre will defend his slender four-point championship lead from Martin Koci in Germany. The Slovakian won last time out in Finland and will travel to Trier full of confidence.
A 12-strong field of R2-specification Fiestas will line up in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Runaway series leader Sander Parn will be hoping to further extend his 37-point advantage at the top of the pile. His closest challenger is currently Britain’s Tom Cave.