The varied asphalt stages of Rallye Deutschland are the next stop for the World Rally Championship, following the flat-out gravel roads of Rally Finland. The blistering drive of Ott Tanak to win in Finland remains the talk of the service park, but for now, at least, the fight for the championship remains primarily between Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier: just one win could be enough to put Ogier back on course for a sixth title.
Based in Saarland in the south-west of Germany, Rallye Deutschland is one of just two WRC rounds run entirely on asphalt, but it features three distinct type of road
The first day of the rally takes place mostly on twisting roads through the vineyards of the Mosel valley, where it isn’t uncommon to see cars squashing a few grapes of their own if the drivers get it wrong through one of the many hairpin turns. This year, the crews will also be back for a double helping of vines on the final morning of the rally.
The second day features the famous and fearsome Panzerplatte in the Baumholder military training area. Here, the big hazards are the hinkelsteins: huge concrete bocks which are designed to keep tanks on the road, but can take a rally car off the road in an instant. Avoiding them is easier said than done amidst frequent surface changes.
Also part of the route are narrow and fast country lanes, close to the service park at Bostalsee. These make up around a third of Saturday’s action and will host the rally-ending Power Stage on Sunday.
The variety at Rallye Deutschland often extends to the weather, with rain frequently a threat. This increases the emphasis on the job of the safety note crews, who drive the stages in advance to advise crews of the latest conditions, helping them to make the best tyre choices and avoid potential pitfalls.
Rallye Deutschland schedule (GMT+2)
Thursday, 16 August
8.00am: Shakedown St. Wendel (5,52 km)
2.45pm: Start (Bostalsee)
7.08pm: SS 1 – Super Special Stage St. Wendel (2,04 km)
7.48pm: Parc fermé
Friday, 17 August
9.00am: Service A (Bostalsee – 15 min)
10.11am: SS 2 – Stein und Wein 1 (19,44 km)
11.05am: SS 3 – Mittelmosel 1 (22,00 km)
12.53pm: SS 4 – Wadern-Weiskirchen 1 (9,27 km)
2.13pm: Service B (Bostalsee – 30 min)
3.39pm: SS 5 – Stein und Wein 2 (19,44 km)
4.33pm: SS 6 – Mittelmosel 2 (22,00 km)
6.21pm: SS 7 – Wadern-Weiskirchen 2 (9,27 km)
7.21pm: Flexi service C (Bostalsee – 48 min)
Saturday, 18 August
7.35am: Service D (Bostalsee – 15 min)
8.48am: SS 8 – Arena Panzerplatte 1 (9,43 km)
9.15am: SS 9 – Panzerplatte 1 (38,57 km)
11.03am: SS 10 – Freisen 1 (14,78 km)
12.06pm: SS 11 – Römerstrasse 1 (12,28 km)
1.40pm: Service E (Bostalsee – 30 min)
3.08pm: SS 12 – Arena Panzerplatte 2 (9,43 km)
3.35pm: SS 13 – Panzerplatte 2 (38,57 km)
5.23pm: SS 14 – Freisen 2 (14,78 km)
6.26pm: SS 15 – Römerstrasse 2 (12,28 km)
7.40pm: Flexi service F (Bostalsee – 48 min)
Sunday, 19 August
6.20am: Service G (Bostalsee – 15 min)
7.49am: SS 16 – Grafschaft 1 (29,07 km)
9.42am: ES 17 – Grafschaft 2 (29,07 km)
12.18pm: SS 18 – Bosenberg Power Stage (14,04 km)
1.00pm: Podium (St. Wendel)