Deutschland, SS12-13: Blow for Ogier
Sordo climbs to second
Sébastien Ogier’s hopes of overhauling ADAC Rallye Deutschland leader Ott Tänak and keeping his WRC title dreams alive were dealt a huge blow after he stopped to change a wheel on Saturday afternoon.
The Frenchman, lying second in the rally and the championship, stopped after 8.4km of the marathon Panzerplatte speed test to change a damaged wheel on his Ford Fiesta. He reached the finish 1min 43sec slower than stage winner Dani Sordo.
It relegated the Frenchman from second to ninth, leaving his hopes of reducing the 21-point gap to championship leader Thierry Neuville in tatters.
“I don’t know how it happened, it was the same line like always. We know it’s a bit of lottery with the rocks,” he said. Asked what it meant for his hopes of a sixth consecutive world title, he replied: “It’s not a really good move.”
Ogier’s problem left Tänak with a comfortable 42.8sec lead over new second-placed driver Dani Sordo. But the Estonian was breathing a sigh of relief after suffering a flat tyre in the previous Arena Panzerplatte stage.
“We had a problem too, better to have it on the shorter stage than the long one,” said the Toyota Yaris pilot. “It was a bit distracting at points because I saw Seb so close to me, so I knew something had happened and I backed off a bit.”
As in the morning, Sordo was supreme over the military roads in his Hyundai i20. He won both stages to climb from fifth, overhauling team-mate Thierry Neuville and Jari-Matti Latvala’s Yaris.
He headed Latvala by 5.1sec with Neuville a further 1.6sec behind.
During the mid-leg service, Neuville’s team reinstalled the differential and gearbox that were removed from his i20 yesterday, after draining the oil to ensure there were no broken fragments following a fluid leak.
Esapekka Lappi completed the top six in another Yaris.
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