World Rally Championship Leader Sébastien Ogier has taken an over 30 second lead in his Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R after Day 2 of Rallye Deutschland 2016.
Despite five of the nine stages taking place on Day 2 at the Baumholder military ground, the site of the famous Panzerplatte stage. Ogier mastered the changeable conditions to leapfrog his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen into the Rallye Deutschland lead.
Ogier and Mikkelsen went for entirely different tyre strategies, with the Norwegian going for an all-soft approach in the morning, whilst Ogier went all-soft on his Michelin tyres in the afternoon.
Their team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala recovered from his disappointing opening day in Germany to finish Day 2 of the rally in fifty-sixth place.
Ogier said after Day 2 of Rallye Deutschland “On the whole, it was a long and tough day of rallying, but I am certainly pleased with our performance. The right tyre selection played a key role. It was very slippery in places, particularly on the long Panzerplatte stage, which meant that the decision to go for soft tyres on the second run was spot on.
The lead is reassuring, but we still have about 60 kilometres of special stage in the vineyards ahead of us. We know from experience that anything can happen there.”
Mikkelsen rued his tyre strategy on the Panzerplatte, which put the Norwegian down to second on the timesheets, behind rally leader Ogier. “Today was about making the right tyre selection, controlled attack, and making as few mistakes as possible. The day began almost perfectly for us – the right tyre selection meant I was able to gain some time on Seb, but I then made a mistake that cost us a lot of time.
We tried to make up ground with another aggressive tyre strategy in the afternoon – but our selection was simply not the right one. All in all, our focus now is on second place –the battle against Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo is going to be really exciting again tomorrow.”
Latvala added “Today was predominantly about the weather and tyre selection. It was very wet in places in the morning, and then it kept raining on and off. After I only managed to complete seven kilometres, I took a while to find my rhythm. We were still able to win a stage, even though we are well down the overall standings.”