SS5: Tänak’s hat-trick

ADAC Rallye Deutschland leader Ott Tänak slammed in a third consecutive special stage victory on Friday afternoon to edge further clear of Sébastien Ogier.

Stage info: SS5

Stein und Wein 2, 19.44km
Last used in 2015, this year’s version has a revised finish. It is fast and flowing with a mix of wide main roads and narrow vineyard tracks. There are plenty of hairpins and many chances for drivers to save valuable tenths of a second by cutting corners.

After winning the final two speed tests of the morning, the Estonian was quickest through the repeated Stein und Wein stage in his Toyota Yaris by 0.3sec from Ogier. His advantage grew to 7.5sec.

“This morning was nice constant grip in here but this one is like a normal German challenge. It’s incredibly tricky in places, very messy with mud and gravel,” he explained.

Ogier was fastest for most of the stage before Tänak overhauled him in the final few kilometres. The Frenchman said he was ‘missing a bit of performance’ from his Ford Fiesta in some sections this morning but his pace compared well to title rival Thierry Neuville.

The Belgian was third in a Hyundai i20, 3.1sec off Tänak’s winning time after a mixed drive, and dropped 6.8sec behind Ogier in the standings.

“I tried to push. You can always go faster but it’s really tricky. I had so many places in my pace notes which were marked as muddy, but they were completely dry, so maybe I was too cautious. I also lost the bite on the brakes as well,” he said.

Fourth fastest for Elfyn Evans rocketed the Welshman ahead of Esapekka Lappi, Dani Sordo and Jari-Matti Latvala into fourth place. He was happier with his Fiesta’s balance compared to this morning and headed Latvala’s Yaris by 0.9sec.

Lappi was a further second adrift after struggling on ‘full poison’ as the Finn referred to the dirt dragged onto the roads by those starting ahead. Dani Sordo slipped to seventh in his i20, a further 1.1sec behind.

Craig Breen climbed ahead of a struggling Andreas Mikkelsen into eighth, while Mads Østberg was almost 25sec slower than the stage winner after struggling with a lack of power in his Citroën C3.

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