Saturday | 22 Aug 2015

SS16: Ogier stuns in Panzerplatte

Sébastien Ogier delivered a stunning drive over Panzerplatte’s tank training roads on Saturday afternoon to put himself firmly in control of ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Stage info: SS15/16

SS15: Arena Panzerplatte 3, 2.87km
A short stage for the fans and a warm-up for the drivers on the daunting Baumholder military ranges ahead of the monster test to follow. The roads are wide and there is a mixture of surfaces, covering smooth and broken asphalt, cobble stones and bumpy concrete. There are many junctions and although much of the stage is new from last year, the roads are not.

SS16: Panzerplatte Long 2, 45.61km
The longest stage of the rally and one of the toughest of the entire season with 103 junctions packed into less than 46km. The surface changes constantly and many roads are lined with hinkelsteins, massive concrete kerbstones designed to keep tanks on the military tracks. Slippery sand coats the surface in the dry while in the wet conditions become treacherous.

He won the marathon 45.61km speed test by a remarkable 15.3sec from Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, extending his lead to 32.3sec with one stage remaining in the penultimate leg.

“I had a really good stage. I found a good set-up with the car and the tyres survived OK. Even at the end I could push,” explained the Frenchman.

Latvala, who was fastest through the previous short sprint stage from Thierry Neuville, was at a loss to explain the massive difference.

“I thought we had a good run but it looks a bad time. I’m really surprised, I don’t understand. The feeling was good, there were no big mistakes but the time wasn’t there,” said the Finn.

Andreas Mikkelsen admitted his Polo R was difficult to drive after replacing the differential at mid-leg service, but he retained third ahead of Dani Sordo. Sordo edged further clear of team-mate Neuville despite continued problems when shifting from second gear to first.

Sixth-placed Elfyn Evans had a narrow escape after sliding wide near the finish but M-Sport team-mate Ott Tänak was in bigger trouble when he went off and lost a minute. Most of the time loss was because the starter motor in his Ford Fiesta RS wasn’t working and he couldn’t restart the engine.

His error allowed Mads Østberg to climb to seventh and the Citroën pilot is 7.2sec adrift of Evans.

Hayden Paddon was over a minute off Ogier’s pace in his Hyundai i20, but at least the Kiwi found the source of his lacklustre performance. A turbo problem has grown progressively worse but has only just been identified.

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