Ford driver Tänak leads close three-way battle at ADAC Rallye Deutschland

Ford driver Tänak leads close three-way battle at ADAC Rallye Deutschland

20.08.2017: • Ott Tänak leads Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier in Germany • WRC leader Thierry Neuville

•    Ott Tänak leads Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier in Germany

•    WRC leader Thierry Neuville retires on opening stage of the day

•    Armin Kremer tenth, Marijan Griebel in the top 20, Julius Tannert leads JWRC competition



Excellent weather, eventful rallying, a breath-taking backdrop and passionate fans - day three of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland had plenty to offer. After 17 of the rally's 21 special stages, it is Ott Tänak (EST) who finds himself best-placed to secure his first victory at the German round of the World Rally Championship.




The 29-year-old, at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta WRC, opened a gap of 21.4 seconds over the Citroën C3 WRC of Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR). Going into the final day, Sébastien Ogier (FRA) could still clinch his fourth win in Germany. The world champion, in a Ford Fiesta WRC, trails Tänak by 29.6 seconds in third place.
 


In contrast, Saturday began with a dramatic set-back for Thierry Neuville (BEL) - Ogier's closest rival in the battle for the world championship title: the Belgian retired with a broken suspension on his Hyundai i20 WRC on the first short Panzerplatte stage.
 


Tänak got off to a far better start: the Estonian won two stages (Arena Panzerplatte 1, Freisen 1) on the morning loop, extending his lead over Mikkelsen in the process. The Norwegian countered with the fastest time on the quick Römerstraße stage in the Saarland region. Toyota Yaris WRC driver Juno Hänninen (FIN) was the fastest man on the long, 41.97-kilometre Panzerplatte stage in the morning.
 


After the midday service, it was Hyundai driver Dani Sordo (ESP) who thrilled the many fans on the Baumholder military training ground: the winner of the Germany rally in 2013, who crashed on Friday, won all three of the afternoon's stages on the Panzerplatte - the two back-to-back sprint stages, as well as over the longer distance.
 


The early retirement of world championship rival Neuville meant Ogier no longer needed to take any unnecessary risks. Despite this, the four-time world champion was still among the fastest drivers on all of the day's stages.



Ogier went fastest on the Friesen 2 stage, but without making up much ground on Tänak or Mikkelsen. The onset of rain provided an additional challenge on the closing Römerstraße 2 stage: Jari-Matti Latvalla (FIN), in the Toyota Yaris WRC, coped best with the conditions to take the final stage win of the day.
 


Ford Fiesta WRC driver Armin Kremer is the best-placed German in tenth place in the overall standings with one day of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland remaining. Local favourite Marijan Griebel, who is supported by ADAC Stiftung Sport, ended day three in 18th place overall (9th place in WRC 2). Julius Tannert, the second German driver in the field to be funded by ADAC Stiftung Sport, climbed into 32nd place overall and leads the JWRC competition in his Ford Fiesta R2 (1st place in the RC4 class).



Skoda driver Fabian Kreim, who lines up in the WRC 2 class, was unable to complete the day, following a crash on the penultimate stage (Freisen 2).
 
 


Standings after 17 of 21 special stages:

 


1.          Tänak/Järveoja (EST/EST)          Ford Fiesta WRC          2h 31m 32.2s

2.          Mikkelsen/Jæger (NOR/NOR)          Citroën C3 WRC          + 21.4s

3.          Ogier/Ingrassia (FRA/FRA)          Ford Fiesta WRC          + 29.6s

4.          Evans/Barritt (GBR/GBR)          Ford Fiesta WRC          + 1m 48.3s

5.          Hänninen/Lindström (FIN/FIN)          Toyota Yaris WRC          + 1m 52.5s

6.          Breen/Martin (IRL/GBR)          Citroën C3 WRC          + 2m 06.7s
     
    
 
           
           
      
 
Peter Linke, photos ADAC

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20.08.2017 / MaP

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