Rally Deutschland: Leg one summary

Team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo (both Citroen) dominated the leg. Loeb, a four time winner here, won five stages while Sordo claimed three as Loeb ended with a 42.7sec lead over the Spaniard. Private entrant Toni Gardemeister (Citroen)...

Team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo (both Citroen) dominated the leg. Loeb, a four time winner here, won five stages while Sordo claimed three as Loeb ended with a 42.7sec lead over the Spaniard. Private entrant Toni Gardemeister (Citroen) excelled in the rain to steadily climb the leaderboard into third. Petter Solberg (Subaru) held fifth, a remarkable position considering the Norwegian crashed heavily in the final shakedown test yesterday morning. Mechanics only finished rebuilding his car at 03.30 this morning. Manfred Stohl (Peugeot) rounded off the top six, despite a bad tyre choice this afternoon. Francois Duval (Skoda) was sixth until the Belgian hit a tree and damaged his car's suspension on the penultimate stage. He didn't start the final test. The other major retirement was Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford), who crashed on the opening stage.

Kronos Total Citroen

At the end of leg one through the vineyards of the Mosel, Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti return to Trier at the head of the field. The two Kronos Total Citroen WRT Xsaras are on fighting form for tomorrow's battle through the Baumholder military ranges. Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio were less happy, coming home tonight in 11th place.

Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "We had some good information and made the right choices : a fantastic job from everyone in the team. Dani has driven very well, but we've managed to pull out a gap.Nonetheless, we are going to remain concentrated in order not to make the slightest mistake tomorrow - either at the wheel or in our tyre choice

Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: "The team has given me a fantastic car - a Xsara that is easy to drive and gave me confidence even in the tricky conditions that we encountered. Seb is in his rightful place : he is the quickest here. But my second place makes me very happy : the team asked me to try and score the maximum possible number of points. I am going to do everything I can in order to try and achieve that goal."

Xavier Pons/Carlos Del Barrio: "We got off to a good start on the right tyres. But our 'off' on SS4 interrupted the flow a bit. On the second loop, we decided to take a different tyre choice to our team mates and opted for intermediates. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take advantage of them during the downpour on SS7 and in the dry conditions of SS8. Tomorrow we have just one aim in mind: getting back up the leaderboard ! "

OMV-Peugeot Norway

Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor have delivered their masterpiece on the first day of the OMV ADAC Rallye. While, in previous years, they had scarce chances for a top rank after the first stages of the event, the fifth edition of the OMV ADAC Rallye has turned the tables. After eight of 19 special stages, they hold the splendid 6th place. Even more of an achievement, since the 34 year old Austrian was punished by fate. Twice he went for the wrong tyre choice.

Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "The new parts have done a great job. Bozian Racing has prepared a perfect Peugeot 307 WRC. I can rely on my car doing what I want it to do. Today we have seen, that there is much to be gained. With the exemption of Loeb and Sordo, all others are within fighting distance."


BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen ended the opening leg of Rallye Deutschland in fourth after a day dominated by tyre choice in the inconsistent weather. Their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car lies just 5.4sec from a top three placing with two days remaining of this ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen are seventh in a similar Focus RS.

Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen: "The rain this afternoon was incredible. The forecast said it would be dry after lunch so I chose hard, dry weather tyres and I couldn't do anything apart from try to stay on the road. I took it easy in the rain but found it hard to get my confidence and rhythm back when it stopped. It's difficult to choose tyres when the weather changes so quickly and we made a mistake this afternoon. But there are still many kilometres remaining and tomorrow's stages won't be easy for anyone so we will see what happens then."

Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "Today was unreal and I hate this weather. The grip changed all the time and I'm just not used to these conditions with this car. My day was typified by stage seven. Five minutes before I started it was dry and sunny. It poured with rain as I started the stage and then a few hundred metres after the finish the roads were dry again! Hard tyres in heavy rain just don't work and it shows the importance of getting the tyre choice right. I hope the weather will be better tomorrow because if it is as wet as it has been today, then the stages will be incredibly slippery."

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team endured a trying first day to OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland with treacherous wet weather conditions making the Mosel vineyard stages a virtual ice rink at times and tyre choice all the more crucial.

Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr: "It was an unbelievable day, very difficult. The first stage was so slippery as it was very wet and there was gravel kicked out on the stage from the cars in front, making it very tricky. The next two stages were difficult as they are under trees and it's difficult to know where was wet at that point and where had dried out. Then in the fourth stage a turbo pipe came apart after we landed coming up to a left hander about 2km into the stage so we couldn't go through at full pace."

Jari Mati Latvala says: "I was driving at a safe speed, it was very slippery so I was being quite sensible. It was a fast downhill section and I braked early but at the end of the braking zone it was like ice and we went straight on into the barrier. It was the same section where Marcus, Mikko and Gareth McHale hit the barrier but they managed to grab the handbrake in time and hit the back of their cars. We went straight on and hit the front and were stranded under the barrier. The damage is not so bad and we are both fine as the speed was not that high, but although the damage is not so bad the car has to be all ready for Finland so we will have to see what happens. It is the most important rally for me and to have a problem so early is not good. There is something not right in my head perhaps."

555 Subaru

Petter Solberg leads the Subaru challenge after today's first Leg of Rally Germany. The Norwegian lies fifth overall thanks largely to the team's technicians who worked through the night to repair his car after he crashed at the pre-event shakedown test. The Norwegian left service this morning in a near-immaculate car that performed faultlessly throughout the day. Chris Atkinson's confidence on wet asphalt increased throughout the Leg and the Australian ended the day in ninth place. Stephane Sarrazin struggled with wildly changing weather conditions that never seemed to suit his tyres. He finished the Leg tenth.

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: "I started this morning just happy to be able to drive at all, but in fact the day has been pretty good. The rain is the main thing; some drivers have been extremely fortunate with the way it fell, some of us have not! I feel that we have done a good progression with the car, but obviously our tyre choices let us down and we weren't able to gather much information from the last three stages as the rain just poured down.Tomorrow I'll try hard and do what I can. I think a podium finish is possible; we just have to get the tyre choices right."

Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: "Not great.This morning I had wet tyres for roads that turned out to be dry, and this afternoon a slick tyre for roads that were mainly wet. Unfortunately, the wild weather meant I had the wrong tyre all of the time. My worst moment was on SS7, I spun and lost about 20 seconds, the road was fully wet and on the slick tyre it was unbelievably slippery.Tomorrow, my wish is that I have the right tyres for the right conditions!"

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "Not a bad day.I had a reasonable tyre call this afternoon but unfortunately we still got caught out a bit by the weather. On the afternoon loop we were at the back of the running order and it absolutely poured down.We lost some time there, and even through we were better that everyone around us, the guys with a clean run were much faster. But we're ninth now, and not too far away from sixth really, we've been competitive with our team mates and that's what we wanted to do."

Red Bull-Skoda Team

In the morning of the first day, a strong upward trend for Red Bull Skoda was already beginning to show compared to the past rallies. After four stages, Andreas Aigner was seventh and Mattias Ekstrom fifteenth. In the afternoon, Andreas Aigner even managed a fifth-best time on SS5, subsequently he finished in eleventh, tenth and seventh. Overall this adds up to P8:

Mattias Ekstrom/Jonas Andersson: It was incredibly difficult to drive. The very changeable track conditions caused a lot of hairy situations. I only get used to the circumstances slowly, but I'll continue to stand by my policy tomorrow - 'learning by doing'."

Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "This has been the best day in my rally career so far. The right tyre choice throughout and the experience gained in extensive testing helped me a lot. Now I've plenty of self-confidence for tomorrow, I'll go confidently into the tough 'Panzerplatte' stages."

-credit: www.rallye-newsletter.com

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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , M-Sport