World champion Sebastien Ogier with Volkswagen Polo-R won the German rally, his third victory of the season. The Frenchman beat Hyundai driver Dani Sordo into second place with another Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville third.
On the asphalt in Trier,the Frenchman was on his own. He started cautiously and was led for the first day by a more aggressive Mikkelsen before taking control of the race on the second day in the military base of Baumholder. After making up time on the 40km special stage Panzerplatte, Ogier had only to hold on to his lead on the third day, Sunday.
“Like last year the difference happened at Panzerplatte, said Ogier after the race. – It is so demanding for the tyres. It looks like one of my strengths here is to manage the tyres a little bit better than my rivals on this stage. If you look at the speed to the end, it was there that I made the difference. It was a proper Rallye Deutschland with proper ‘Deutsch’ weather. It was extremely difficult to make the tyre choice. Most of the time we had a good compromise, but never really the perfect choice. But the most important thing was that we had a solution that kept us going with good speed.
The highlight of the final day was the battle behind Ogier for second place. Andreas Mikkelsen with Volkswagen held the position until Sunday’s first stage, but he was past by the Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville both with Hyundai i20. With only 4.1s separating all three drivers entering the 14.84km Power Stage, success would need to be crucial. Although Neuville topped the Power Stage times and scored an extra three championship points for his efforts, Sordo’s fourth fastest time was just enough to guarantee second place overall – by a margin of just 0.1s!
Third Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon had a puncture on Friday. He recovered from eighth to fifth ahead of Mads Ostberg, helped by Ott Tanak losing a comfortable fifth place to a alternator failure.
Frenchmen Stephane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau were suffering fractures and internal injuries after crashing their Citroen on Saturday. PH Sport-run DS 3 WRC hit a tree at very high speed on the Panzerplatte.Lefebvre had been running in sixth place prior to the crash. The stage was neutralised for the competitors.
The win saw the three-time world champion and current title holder strengthen his lead at the top of the championship table ahead of his teammate Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway.With victory in the ninth round of the 13-round championship he now holds a 59-point lead over Mikkelsen and looks to be going towards a fourth world title.