SS7: Kubica fastest over second leg opener
This was a shortened version of the 2013 stage, starting in the village of Fell by the much photographed arch. It was narrow and twisty to begin with, before opening out into very fast sections with long straights and sweeping corners.
Overnight rain provided tricky conditions through Saturday’s opening stage at ADAC Rallye Deutschland and Robert Kubica took advantage of a good position in the start order to set fastest time.
The roads were clean when the Pole, second in the running order, started in his Ford Fiesta RS. The passage of more cars meant mud and dirt was dragged onto the surface and as the grip became increasingly inconsistent, nobody could match his pace.
He was fastest by 1.7sec from Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20, the Belgian closing to within 0.2sec of Andreas Mikkelsen in their fight for fourth overall.
“There were some really tricky places. I saw a lot of lines where drivers went off so I tried to be smooth. I could have gone faster but wanted to keep the car on the road,” said Neuville.
Leader Jari-Matti Latvala was third in a Volkswagen Polo R, the Finn happy to have emerged from a stage in which he crashed last year. “I really had to concentrate on the grip levels,” he said.
Kris Meeke was fifth and sixth for Elfyn Evans moved the Welshman to within 0.8sec of Fiesta RS team-mate Mikko Hirvonen in sixth overall.
Road opener Sébastien Ogier missed a junction and had to reverse but was still fourth fastest.
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