Saturday | 22 Aug 2015

SS14: Close call for Tänak, Latvala

Both Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala survived brushes with the Mosel vineyard scenery in Saturday afternoon’s opening speed test at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Stage info: SS14

Grafschaft 2, 18.35km
Saturday’s curtain-raiser is a typical vineyard test, with a high wall on one side of the road, a drop into the grapes on the other and plenty of unseen junctions. However, there is a 3km section early on which crosses open fields. It’s virtually identical to last year except that the opening 800 metres have been chopped off.

Tänak completed the second pass through Grafschaft with two chunks missing from the front left wheel rim of his Ford Fiesta RS while second-placed Latvala dented a rim on his Volkswagen Polo R – but both survived unscathed.

Tänak was acclimatising to a set-up change when he hit a rock early in the 18.35km test.

“Changing the set-up changed things quite a lot and in the first corner I clipped a rock on the inside. It was bad for my rhythm, but by the middle of the stage I understood what was different and the second half was better. The car is much more reactive,” he said.

Latvala admitted he did not know what he hit. “I can’t remember an impact but there were a couple of compressions, so it could have been there,” said the Finn, who was fastest by 1.3sec from team-mate and leader Sébastien Ogier.

Third-placed Andreas Mikkelsen is already thinking about the next asphalt event in Corsica. “We changed the differential in service and it takes time to get used to. We’re testing a little bit for Corsica,” said the Norwegian.

Dani Sordo stretched his advantage over Thierry Neuville by a few tenths in fourth despite continued gearchange issues in his Hyundai i20, while Martin Prokop had a front left puncture after completing with a cut in the tyre.

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