Sebastien Ogier has ended his six-race winless spell today at Rally Deutschland 2016 after crossing the finish line first, driving a VW Polo R WRC. The Frenchman who still led the championship prior to this round now has a 14-points advantage in the overall standings, this was his third Rally Deutschland career win.
Up until yesterday, Ogier’s teammate Andreas Mikkelsen was ready for a podium finish today, having completed day 2 in second place, some 30s behind Ogier. Behind him was a pack of hungry Hyundai i20 WRCs driven by Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville.
The Hyundai pair turned up the heat today, allowing Mikkelsen to only get away with stage 1 but eventually slaying him towards the end. Neuville topped the Power Stage times, grabbed three extra championship points but it was Sordo’s fourth fastest Power Stage time that granted him a much needed second place finish overall. Neuville thus settled for third while Mikkelsen was pushed back to fourth in his VW Polo R WRC.
Hyundai Motorsport celebrated a double podium at Rally Deutschland 2016, and are currently 55 points behind leading Volkswagen Motorsport while M-Sport World Rally Team is third. In the driver’s category, Ogier leads with 143 points followed by Mikkelsen with 98 points, Latvala with 87 points, Hayden Paddon with 84 points and Neuville with 76 points to round off the top five.
Speaking about his win today, Ogier said, “This is great, I haven’t had a chance to win on the recent rallies and I was missing that feeling for sure. It’s been really exciting and a long time since I was battling like this for a win. I really had to push to beat the guys around me.”
Fifth place went to Paddon in the other Hyundai i20 WRC, followed by Mads Østberg in the Ford Fiesta RS. A squad of Skoda Fabia R5s filled places 7-10, with Esapekka Lappi scoring P7, Pontus Tidemand in P8, Jan Kopecky in P9 and local hero Armin Kremer in P10.
Ott Tänak retired on day 2 with an alternator issue while Latvala retired on day 1, they came back under Rally 2 to finish the event in 23rd and 48th places overall, Latvala had the second fastest time on the Power Stage today.
Meanwhile, French duo of Stéphane Lefebvre and co-driver Gabin Moreau crashed on Saturday morning in their Citroen DS3 while travelling at 165 km/h. A statement regarding their crash read, “The examinations revealed fractures and internal injuries, so they will need to stay for residential treatment. According to the doctors, their injuries are not life threatening.”
Gabin later received an operation to reduce the fracture to his left ankle.
Rally China was scheduled to take place on September 8 but was cancelled due to route damage by heavy rains. The next round will be Rally France on September 29.