Reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier has put himself in pole position to win his first rally since Rally Sweden back in February. The Volkswagen Motorsport driver heads into the final day of the ninth round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland with a 33.4 second lead over team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen in their VW Polo WRCs.
Mikkelsen started the day by winning SS6 but undone his good work on the following test by over shooting a junction, and Ogier won the stage to close the gap to just 0.2 seconds. The pair swapped positions twice over SS8 and SS9 before Ogier took a firm grip of the lead on the tenth test and headed into service 13.2 seconds ahead. SS10 would also see a horrible accident for Stephane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau which would result in the stage being halted.
Ogier appeared to make the better tyre choice over Mikkelsen on the second loop of stages and he extended his advantage by the day’s end. Hyundai Motorsport‘s Dani Sordo ended the day in third just 3.6 seconds off Mikkelsen. The Spaniard recovered from a start line stall on SS9 and overhauled his team-mate Thierry Neuville on the final stage of the day.
New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon is in fifth over three minutes off the lead in the third Hyundai while M-Sports Mads Ostberg is in sixth. Ott Tanak had been running fifth until alternator issues on his Ford Fiesta WRC dropped him down the order.
Armen Kremer ended day one with a lead of 28.4 seconds over Esapekka Lappi in WRC2 but Lappi made an impressive comeback on Saturday’s stages in his Skoda Fabia R5. The Finn won SS6 and SS7 and took the lead from Kremer. Lappi held it until the end of the day and heads into the final leg with a lead of just over a minute. Kremer continued to drop back and Jan Kopecky managed to overhaul the German on the final stage of the day, Kopecky trails the leader by 1 minute and 9 seconds.
The Junior World Rally Championship has played host to a fantastic battle between Simone Tempestini and Martin Koci. The pair were never separated by more than 7.6 seconds over the first loop as they traded times with each other. By the service stop Koci had got the gap down to just 5.4 seconds. Koci narrowed Tempestini’s lead to just 2.1 seconds after the break but a quick time by the Italian on the final test of the day means he heads into the final leg with a lead of 17 seconds.
Four more stages await crews on the final leg of the 2016 Rallye Deutschland tomorrow.