SS3: Ogier leads in Germany as Kubica slides off

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By www.wrc.com

22 August 2014 - 13:10
SS3: Ogier leads in Germany as (...)

Moselland is a Rallye Deutschland classic. It runs alongside the Mosel river, twisting and turning through 60 junctions in vineyards on steep hillsides. Narrow but fast service roads, linked by strings of hairpin bends are its hallmarks. It was used in the opposite direction to last year.

Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest by two-tenths of a second from Sébastien Ogier in this morning’s final stage at ADAC Rallye Deutschland as the Volkswagen pair continued to dominate.

It was the first win for the Finn after Ogier took the honours in the opening two tests. The gap between them was 1.9sec in Ogier’s favour as drivers returned to service in Trier.

“It seemed more slippery than last year, maybe there’s more dirt on the road. It was difficult to feel what the grip was like, but it wasn’t as bad as the previous stage,” said Latvala.

The Polo R duo are already more than 20sec clear of Kris Meeke in third, but Ogier hinted there was more to come.

“I’m not completely happy with the car but my pace was good. The first stage was more slippery than expected. I tried to be aggressive but made two mistakes and lost time. We’re still in the lead and quite well ahead of everyone except Jari-Matti, so that’s OK,” he said.

Meeke is 24.0sec off top spot in his Citroen DS3, a gap exaggerated by a first stage spin, with Dani Sordo a further 4.6sec back in fourth.

Sordo, winner in 2013, is enduring the worst of the road conditions. A low start position means the roads are covered in mud and dirt, dragged onto the surface by those starting earlier.

Andreas Mikkelsen slipped from third to fifth after swiping the rear left of his Polo R near the start of Moselland. Although the wheel rim was badly damaged, the Michelin rubber stayed inflated until 4km from the finish.

Clustered close behind are Mads Østberg, Mikko Hirvonen and Thierry Neuville, just over 10sec splitting the six drivers from Meeke to Neuville, The latter lost time as the brakes on his Hyundai i20 faded near the finish and the Belgian also reported losing the place in his pace notes as he and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul made corrections mid-stage.

Elfyn Evans and Bryan Bouffier complete the top 10 but Robert Kubica dropped four minutes after sliding off 600 metres after the start of Moselland, buckling his front left wheel and damaging the clutch.

“We went off in a tightening corner. I wasn’t holding the steering wheel strongly enough and when I hit something I lost the line. By the time I recovered it was too late. We had two wheels off the road and although spectators helped us, we couldn’t get out. The wheels were just spinning,” said Kubica.

WRC

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