Sebastien Ogier has claimed a historic victory on Rallye Deutschland after retaining the lead handed to him on Saturday's final stage when Citroen teammate Sebastien Loeb lost over a minute to a puncture.
The win is Ogier's first on tarmac, and in fact the first for any driver other than Loeb on a pure asphalt event of the WRC since the end of 2004. It is also the first win for a driver than Loeb on the German round of the series since its first inclusion on the calendar in 2002.
The elder Frenchman had been in the rally lead since SS3, maintaining a small gap over Ogier until his puncture on Saturday's final stage dropped him to second, 1m11s. Loeb was able to close the gap to 39.9s over the final day's stages, also winning the final power stage to secure three bonus points.
Dani Sordo sealed the Mini WRC Team's first podium finish in third, managing to remain clear of the best of the Fords Mikko Hirvonen. The Blue Oval suffered a miserable event, with Hirvonen and teammate Jari-Matti Latvala losing half a minute to the Citroens on the opening morning due to a bad tyre choice for a wet stage. While Latvala's hopes were dashed by engine problems, Hirvonen lost third due to a puncture, suffering another tyre failure on the final stage of the rally.
Petter Solberg came home in fifth, having battled with Kris Meeke in the second of the Minis. The Northern Irishman was forced to retire two stages from the end with a loss of power – his third non-finish from three events the Mini has contested so far.
Kimi Raikkonen came out on top of a rally-long battle with Henning Solberg to take sixth place. Armindo Araujo scored his first points in his Mini in eighth, ahead of first-time points scorer Peter van Merksteijn Jr. The top ten was completed by another Dutchman Dennis Kuipers, who had been ahead of both Raikkonen and Henning Solberg until losing several minutes to a puncture on Saturday.
Ott Tanak won the Super 2000 category in 12th overall, with Volkswagen trialists Hans Weijs and Christian Riedemann 13th and 15th respectively in their Skoda Fabias. They sandwiched Latvala, whose recovery efforts were hit by a crash on Saturday.
Loeb's championship lead stands at 25 points over Ogier, with Hirvonen a further 11 adrift. Rally Australia is the next stop on the calendar, on 8-11 September.
Final top ten positions after SS19:
|1.||2||Sebastien Ogier||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||3:32:15.9|
|2.||1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||+39.8|
|3.||37||Dani Sordo||Mini||Mini John Cooper Works WRC||+1:55.6|
|4.||3||Mikko Hirvonen||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2:43.7|
|5.||11||Petter Solberg||PSWRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||+3:48.0|
|6.||8||Kimi Raikkonen||Ice 1||Citroen DS3 WRC||+7:24.6|
|7.||15||Henning Solberg||M-Sport Stobart||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+7:45.9|
|8.||17||Armindo Araujo||Motorsport Italia||Mini John Cooper Works WRC||+9:29.8|
|9.||14||Peter van Merksteijn Jr.||Van Merksteijn||Citroen DS3 WRC||+10:01.6|
|10.||9||Dennis Kuipers||FERM||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+10:09.0|
Drivers' standings after 9 of 13 rallies:
1. Sebastien Loeb, 192 points
2. Sebastien Ogier, 167
3. Mikko Hirvonen, 156
4. Jari-Matti Latvala, 96
5. Petter Solberg, 94
6. Mads Ostberg, 56