Friday | 21 Aug 2015

SS2: Ogier sets early pace in Germany

Sébastien Ogier won Friday morning’s opening two speed tests at ADAC Rallye Deutschland to take an early lead in this ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Stage info: SS1/2

SS1: Sauertal 1, 14.84km
The rally’s opener is used in the opposite direction to last year with some small changes. It starts on a narrow road before joining wider asphalt and dropping into Trierweiler village.
It alternates between narrow and wide roads throughout, with many junctions, before ending with an ultra-fast 2km section. A high-speed test which allows rusty drivers room for errors.

SS2: Waxweiler 1, 16.40km
This is the only stage used in the same format as 2014. It runs on fast, flowing, narrow roads between fields and forests, until a final 2km section on a more major road. It climbs and descends throughout on smooth and shiny asphalt, with many hairpin bends.

The Frenchman was 1.4sec quicker than Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in Sauertal, despite swiping a hay bale, and edged out the Finn by 0.4sec in Waxweiler, close to the Belgium border in the Eifel hills.

“It wasn’t a perfect stage again. I’m yet to find the perfect rhythm but I’m satisfied,” said Ogier, who could secure a third consecutive world title this weekend, at the end of SS2.

Latvala, winner in Finland earlier this month, was unsettled. “The first stage was OK, but I’m not happy with my driving in here. I’m losing too much time with understeer and I don’t know why,” he explained.

Andreas Mikkelsen made it a Volkswagen 1-2-3 with third fastest in both stages, and the Norwegian felt there was more to come. “I was way too careful in many places,” he said.

Kris Meeke was the first non-Polo driver, the Ulsterman fourth in both tests in Citroën’s DS 3 but already 14.5sec behind the leading trio. Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville completed the top six in a Ford Fiesta RS and Hyundai i20 respectively.

Drivers reported slippery conditions, with gravel dragged onto the roads by the first few cars ensuring grip was low and understeering was a problem for many.

Ott Tänak discovered that to his cost near the start of Sauertal when he hit a patch of gravel in the braking zone for a corner and understeered into a field. His Fiesta RS sported damage to the front left and he dropped 20sec to Ogier’s time.

Robert Kubica started with a five minute penalty after his Ford Fiesta RS required an engine change following shakedown yesterday. The Pole walked over the start podium in Trier last night.

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