SS8/9: Latvala and Sordo share wins
Jari-Matti Latvala and Dani Sordo shared the bragging rights at ADAC Rallye Deutschland on Saturday morning after each claimed a speed test victory on the daunting Baumholder military roads.
Stage info: SS8/9
SS8: Arena Panzerplatte 1, 9.43km
The short sprint on the daunting Baumholder military ranges of previous years has been extended into a middle-distance challenge this year. It features the famous Gina jump and a mix of surfaces, covering smooth and broken asphalt, cobble stones and bumpy concrete.
SS9: Panzerplatte 1, 38.57km
The longest stage of the rally and one of the toughest of the season with 88 junctions packed into less than 39km. The surface changes constantly and many roads are lined with hinkelsteins, massive concrete kerbs designed to keep tanks on the military tracks. It has everything – wide, narrow and mid-sized roads and surfaces ranking from smooth asphalt to cobbles. Slippery sand coats the surface in the dry while in the wet conditions are treacherous.
Latvala was fastest out of the blocks to win the Arena Panzerplatte special stage in his Toyota Yaris by a tenth of a second from Sordo (pictured). The Spaniard went one better in the main Panzerplatte test to stop the clocks 0.6sec up on rally leader Ott Tänak.
Tänak was smiling most, however, after adding almost a second to his lead over Sébastien Ogier on the multi-surfaced tank training roads, which were covered in a fine layer of dust and proved more slippery than expected.
The Estonian emerged from the two tests with slight damage to the front of his Yaris but was unconcerned. “I don’t think the missing front aero part will make much of a difference. It was dirty in the first stage and my rhythm wasn’t great. I felt a bit stiff and it wasn’t easy,” he said.
Ogier was fourth and third in the two stages in his Ford Fiesta, the Frenchman lacking confidence in the low-grip sections.
Thierry Neuville retained third in his Hyundai i20 but the championship leader slipped 20.4sec adrift of Ogier and the Belgian cut a frustrated figure as he left Panzerplatte.
“The car wasn’t working at all. I can’t brake hard and with the differential I’m using now I can do nothing. I have to work with this set-up to the end of the weekend,” he said.
Neuville was coming under pressure from team-mate Sordo, who vaulted from sixth to fourth after a stellar start to the day. He held a 3.5sec advantage over Toyota’s Latvala, who chastised himself for driving too aggressively in the long test.
It was a disappointing start for Elfyn Evans, who dropped two places to sixth in his Fiesta. He was 5.0sec behind Latvala in the standings.
Teemu Suninen overshot a junction in Arena Panzerplatte while Mads Østberg was all at sea with the handling of his Citroën C3, which understeered badly.
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