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...
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.
SS16: 0838hrs Freisen/Westrich 1 (19.07km)
Crews set off from Bostalsee to the fast, flowing Saarland stages for the
final Leg of Rallye Deutschland. On cold tyres, Subaru's Stephane
Sarrazin went straight on at a junction 700 metres from the start line
and nosed his car off the road. Instinctively the Frenchman selected
reverse gear, but as his car was still rolling forward at the time, the
transmission was damaged and Sarrazin retired. As a result of the
incident Chris Atkinson moved into ninth position overall. Toni
Gardemeister took the first victory of the day as he tried to regain the
third position he had lost to Marcus Gronholm on Leg two.
Fastest Time: Gardemeister (Citroen) 11:40.4
SS17: 0923hrs Birkenfelder Land (13.68km)
Crews continued to the short Birkenfelder Land stage for the second of
the day's four stages. Running on slippery, slightly damp tarmac,
several drivers complained of a lack of grip. Matthew Wilson said his
engine felt down on power through the tight hairpins and slow corners,
while Chris Atkinson reported a brake problem and a small spin. Dani
Sordo took the stage win from team-mate Sebastien Loeb. Gardemeister
closed the gap to third-placed Gronholm by a further second.
Fastest Time: Sordo (Citroen) 7:52.3
SS18: 1011hrs St Wendeler Land (16.37km)
Light rain started to fall over the Saarland just before the start of the
St Wendeler speed test and made the already-muddy roads even more
slippery. Several drivers were caught out by the conditions, including
Manfred Stohl who went straight on at a junction and lost 30secs as he
tried to rejoin the road. Gardemeister refused to give up his pursuit of
third place and took his second win of the day, closing the gap to
Gronholm to just over 15secs. Gronholm was second quickest with Citroen
duo Sordo and Loeb third and fourth. Chris Atkinson fixed his brakes on
the road section between stages and recorded the 12th fastest time.
Fastest Time: Gardemeister (Citroen) 9:08.6
SS19: 1044hrs Freisen/Westrich 2 (19.07km)
There were dramas for Jan Kopecky and Andreas Aigner in the final
kilometres of Rallye Deutschland. Kopecky went off and hit a barrier, but
continued to the finish with minimal damage. Aigner however hit a barrier
3km from the end of the stage and badly damaged his front left-hand
corner. He eventually managed to finish the stage to retain his seventh
position and score his first-ever manufacturer points. Gardemeister won
the final stage but it was not enough to snatch third from Gronholm. Loeb
secured overall victory, the 26th win of his career to equal Carlos
Sainz' record, with Sordo second. There were also problems for
Hirvonen after the stage finish as he stopped on the motorway to parc
ferme with a broken alternator. He incurred a five minute penalty and
dropped out of the points to ninth overall. Hirvonen's misfortune
was Chris Atkinson's advantage as he finished his second Rallye
Deutschland in eighth position to score one point.
Fastest Time: Gardemeister (Citroen) 11:50.8
SUBARU WORLD RALLY TEAM SPORTING DIRECTOR, LUIS MOYA
"Not the best rally we could have had, but we can be positive that after the summer break we managed to get the car more competitive on tarmac than we were in Corsica and Cataluña. We hope these improvements will help us now on the following events because we're definitely going to Finland to try and win. "
"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."
"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"
News from Pirelli
MARIO ISOLA, PIRELLI COMPETIZIONI RALLY MANAGER
"As with Friday and Saturday the changing weather made tyre choice quite difficult, but we felt we made the right tyre choice for both Chris and Stephane this morning. A soft slick was the best compromise for the mixed conditions. Unfortunately Stephane retired on the first stage but, despite a small spin on the second stage, Chris drove a good rally to the finish to score one point."
The Next Event
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.