Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) claimed his sixth victory of the year, leading home team-mate Dani Sordo by 33.8sec. The Frenchman became the first driver to win a full championship event for five consecutive seasons and moved level with Carlos Sainz at...
Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) claimed his sixth victory of the year, leading home team-mate Dani Sordo by 33.8sec. The Frenchman became the first driver to win a full championship event for five consecutive seasons and moved level with Carlos Sainz at the top of the WRC win list with 26 victories. Toni Gardemeister (Citroen) launched a determined challenge to catch Gronholm, winning three stages, but the Ford driver controlled his pace to maintain third. Austria's Manfred Stohl (Peugeot) took fifth while Andreas Aigner (Skoda) claimed his first ever driver points in sixth, despite going off 3km before the end of the last stage.
Kronos Total Citroen
The two Kronos Total Citroen WRT Xsaras got through the four stages of the final day without the slightest problem. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena won the Rallye Deutschland for the fifth consecutive time, becoming the first crew ever to achieve such a feat on the full World Championship. Their excellent win, after a rally which they dominated from the start, is the 26th in total for the Franco-Monegasque pairing. Seb now joins Carlos Sainz as the most successful driver in the history of the sport.
Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: " I love the Rallye Deutschland and it has always been good to me. But it's fair to say that the traditionally complex weather makes it quite a stressful experience. There was a bit of extra pressure on top as well : I had to make sure I made no mistakes on my home territory and score the maximum number of points for the championship. Now it's over and I can relax a bit ! I want to really savour the feeling of equalling Carlos Sainz's record number of wins. I've never hidden the fact that this is a record I really wanted, because of the immense respect I have for Carlos and his career. Yet it's still a benchmark I want to beat. "
Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: "Marc Van Dalen and the entire Kronos team showed a lot of faith in me by nominating me to score points. I am really pleased to thank them by bringing back the maximum possible number of points. I'm also really pleased to see that my pace notes - made last year when I was driving the C2 Super 1600 - worked perfectly. I'd like to thank Marc [Marti] who has always pushed me to get my notes absolutely right. Finally, I'd like to thank Seb. He has been incredibly good to me, and his advice on tyres and setup is a huge help. "
Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor have conquered the curse of Germany. The OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team finished in excellent 5th place at the homerally. That is the best result of the 34-year-old Austrian at a tarmac rally in the World Championship. With this result, the OMV Team Stohl/Minor advanced to 4th place in the FIA Rally Championship driver ranking, with a score of 24 points.
Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "I'm very happy, that we were able to deliver a good performance in Germany this year. The OMV ADAC Rallye is a very difficult competition, you are forced to constantly test your limits. The line between success and defeat is very thin. Our successful tests in the run-up were crucial. My Peugeot 307 WRC was perfectly prepared for this rally by Bozian Racing."
BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen finished third on the Rallye Deutschland today to claim their fourth podium in five years here. It was the sixth occasion the Finns have claimed a top three finish this season in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, and they remain second in the FIA World Rally Championship after nine of 16 rounds. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished ninth in a similar BP Ultimate and Castrol-branded Focus RS, after a last-gasp drama when the Finns stopped with a broken alternator on the liaison section to the finish in Trier after the final stage. Hirvonen would have finished fifth but the five minute penalty incurred for being helped to the finish cost four driver points.
Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen: "A podium is a good, solid finish and after a difficult rally I have to be happy with that," he said. "But I had hoped to be fighting with the Citroen of Sebastien Loeb for victory rather than the similar car of Gardemeister for third. But I wasn't happy in the rain on Friday and so there was no chance of that. I was a little bit slow on the first stage this morning but then I found my pace and it was just a question of keeping an eye on Toni's stage times.
Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "I started to have battery problems on the stages because the alternator wasn't charging any more," he said. "Then the car stopped and there was no power in the battery to get moving. After everything that has happened this weekend, I just can't believe this. I've lost driver points and a manufacturer point and that's a big shame. My Saturday performance was very good but on Friday I was off the pace in the wet weather. It has been a tough weekend and now my thoughts are focused on my home rally next weekend where I hope my luck will be better."
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford
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Chris Atkinson crossed the finish ramp of Rally Germany in eighth place today to score one driver point. Despite limited experience of the specialist asphalt rally, the Australian drove swiftly and consistently all weekend to record his best ever finish on the event. His Impreza WRC2005 ran faultlessly throughout. For Stephane Sarrazin the rally came to a premature end following an accident on the first stage of the Leg.
Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: Retired - Engine
Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: "It's very frustrating. I was anticipating a good fight for seventh place today and, after yesterday, I was feeling positive about the car and my driving. We were less than one kilometre into the stage when we went off. I just under-steered straight on at a slow, second-gear corner. Spectators helped push the car back on the road, but unfortunately I couldn't continue"
Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "Today was okay. We came here hoping to get in the points, and we got there in the end. The first stage was quite good for us, although the brakes didn't feel so good on the second and caused us to have a small spin. As we weren't in a position to fight for any more places, we took it fairly steadily over the final two. Generally it's been a useful rally for us. I'm looking forward to getting back in a 2006 model Impreza for Finland."
Red Bull-Skoda Team
The OMV ADAC Rally Germany in Trier, which ended today in wet conditions, brought Red Bull Skoda the best result in this year's world championship so far.
Mattias Ekstrom/Jonas Andersson: "I've learned a lot here. Rallying, especially in changing weather conditions such as these, is tremendous. Right now, the DTM with Audi is on top of my agenda, of course, but if another chance to drive a rally presents itself, I will take it again."
Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "I had been 19.3 seconds ahead of the pursuing Jan Kopecky (Skoda) prior to the final stage. Three corners before the end of the final SS I slid off the road, lost some time and was just able to finish 3.2 seconds ahead of the Czech. I can be more than happy with the result. Of the 19 stages in total I was able to post top ten times on 15 of them, this pleases me the most. I want to thank the team and especially Klaus. Now I just wish that we will be able to continue just as well in the remaining rallies in Cyprus, Turkey and Wales."
Less than a week after Germany, the World Rally Championship finds itself in Finland: home to the most famous rally of them all. This event has been nicknamed 'the Finnish Grand Prix', because it is where the cars go faster and fly higher than anywhere else, thanks to Finland's huge rollercoaster crests, which launch the cars into the air at maximum speed. The event has traditionally been dominated by local specialists, and it is the one rally that every driver wants to win.