Niegel proves a point on Rallye Deutschland Suzuki Rallye Junior Team Germany driver Florian Niegel has scored a point on his home event - but his chances of finishing further up the order were seriously compromised by a mistake on day two of...
Niegel proves a point on Rallye Deutschland
Suzuki Rallye Junior Team Germany driver Florian Niegel has scored a point on his home event - but his chances of finishing further up the order were seriously compromised by a mistake on day two of the Rallye Deutschland, when he went off on the opening stage. He was forced to stop and change a wheel, with the resulting time loss dropping him from fifth in the Junior standings to 10th. Thanks to a valiant effort to make up the lost time, he ended the rally in eighth, scoring one Junior World Rally Championship point. Although Niegel had the pace to finish much higher up the leaderboard, the young German enjoyed his home rally and learned many valuable lessons that will stand him in good stead for the two remaining events in this year's Junior World Rally Championship: Spain and Corsica.
The last day of the Rallye Deutschland contained fast and flowing asphalt roads that are not dissimilar to those on the next two rallies, giving Niegel - who is in his first year of the Junior World Rally Championship - some valuable experience at the wheel of the Suzuki Swift Super 1600. The final day presented the German with no dramas, as he concentrated on making it safely to the finish back in Trier.
Also taking part in the event was a privately-entered Swift Super 1600 driven by the Danish crew of Martin Johansen and Finn Thomsen, who are currently leading their home Super 1600 championship. They dropped time with a puncture on the opening day but then ran reliably to the finish on their second participation in the Rallye Deutschland, ending up 30th overall and fifth in class A6.
The Group N Suzuki Swift Sport of Luxembourg driver Hugo Arellano re-started day two under the super rally regulations but had to retire again after the opening stage this morning.
The next round of the Junior World Rally Championship is the Catalunya Rally from October 2-5.
News from Florian Niegel (Suzuki Swift n.43):
"It was a pity that we had the problem on the second day as without it I think we could have finished comfortably in the points; maybe even in third - which would have been a great result given our level of experience. Still, these things can happen in rallying and it is all part of the learning experience. Today we just concentrated on trying to get safely to the finish and not making any more mistakes. The car was great throughout the rally, giving us no problems at all, and we enjoyed a lot of local support. It was fantastic to see so many people out on the Rallye Deutschland this year and I hope we gave them a good show. The most important thing for me is that I had plenty of time in the car and I was able to learn many things that will be useful for the next JWRC rounds on asphalt."
News from Martin Johansen (Suzuki Swift n.70):
"We achieved our objective on this event, which was to get through all the stages without having to resort to super rally - which was the case for us last year. I enjoyed these stages a lot, even though they are quite different to what we are accustomed to back home in Denmark. We had quite a big gap to the next driver, so there was no point in taking any risks today. Instead we just concentrated on looking after the car and enjoying the experience of competing here. We had a small clutch problem on the superspecial at the end, but apart from that the car was perfect throughout the rally."