Preview: 2015 Rallye Deutschland

Following the Finnish round of the World Rally Championship comes another fans’ favourite, the 2015 Rallye Deutschland held around the Rhineland area in southwest Germany.

Last year’s rally was a thrilling one which saw Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo bring home a solid Hyundai one-two victory following trouble for the various Volkswagen and Citroen crews.

This year’s itinerary doesn’t differ too much but does contain subtle alterations that are sure to keep drivers on their toes.

A highlight of the event will be five stages on the Panzerplatte military roads at Baumholder. Endlessly changing road surfaces are only made more challenging by the infamous ‘hinkelsteins’, concrete kerbstones designed to keep tanks on the correct route but far more damaging when met by a WRC car.

Starting with roads in the Eifel mountains and Mosel vineyards on Friday, drivers will have to navigate 21 stages on a variety of tarmac styles – for the first time this season.

Rallye Deutschland has been held every year since 1982, relocated to its current base at Trier in 2000 and joined the World Rally Championship two years later. It was for many years a strong event for Citroen, the French manufacturer having won every event until last year.

The only drivers in the current field with German victories under their belts are Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier, each with a sole win.

Currently, Sebastien Ogier leads the championship standings on 182 points, almost double his closest rival and Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. Third place is held by Mads Ostberg but just one point behind with 83 is Andreas Mikkelsen. Thierry Neuville sits in fifth.

Rallye Deutschland starts on Thursday, August 17 and The Checkered Flag will provide daily updates on the action.