Sandell lands maiden S-WRC win in Germany thriller Patrik Sandell resisted intense pressure from Martin Prokop to claim his first victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship after a thrilling battle on Rallye Deutschland today ...
Sandell lands maiden S-WRC win in Germany thriller
Patrik Sandell resisted intense pressure from Martin Prokop to claim his first victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship after a thrilling battle on Rallye Deutschland today (Sunday).
Overnight leader P-G Andersson started the final five stages with an advantage of 4.6 seconds over fellow Skoda Fabia driver Sandell with Prokop close behind in his Ford Fiesta.
After Andersson smashed his Skoda's left-rear wheel landing on a kerb midway through the opening Dhrontal test, Sandell moved into a lead he would never relinquish despite Prokop closing to 3.2s at one stage. Indeed, Prokop could have been closer to Sandell had he not lost five seconds on stage 16 when he overshot a junction braking for a left corner.
"It's been crazy, absolutely crazy," said Sandell after winning four of Sunday's five stages. "We've had an incredible battle for three days and the feeling now is absolutely unbelievable. I am so happy with this result and I have to say a big thank you to all of the Red Bull Rallye Team for providing me with such a good car. I came to this rally very confident of a good result and to leave here with this victory means so much."
Prokop, who finished second, said: "I'm a little disappointed because I only made one mistake in all of the rally. I was at the limit and did everything I could."
Andersson said he felt "empty" after losing out in victory in the S-WRC division. He added: "It was a bad jump after a right corner, which I had as a caution in my notes. I took too much speed and did not keep to the left enough and when I landed on a kerb it broke the wheel."
Eyvind Brynildsen looked set for third after Andersson's stage 15 delay but he was unable to prevent the Swede from powering ahead on stage 18.
Xevi Pons recovered from a puncture to take fifth overall and maintain his lead in the drivers' standings although the Spaniard was far from happy with his pace during the event in his Fiesta.
"I was not happy with our performance and it's difficult to explain why," said Pons, whose lead over Andersson is 13 points.
Michal Kosciuszko restarted under SupeRally regulations on Sunday and finished sixth with Bernardo Sousa battling illness to claim seventh in his Fiesta. Despite struggling with faltering hand controls in his Abarth Grande Punto, Albert Llovera completed the rally in eighth overall.
Araujo extends P-WRC lead with asphalt triumph
Armindo Araujo extended his lead of the Production Car World Rally Championship to 18 points following his second maximum score of the season on Rallye Deutschland.
Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX for the Ralliart Italy squad, Araujo was never headed throughout the 19-stage rally, which finished in Trier this afternoon.
After claiming victory alongside co-driver Miguel Ramalho, Araujo said: "This is a very important victory for me for the championship. We tested a lot before this event and we were able to find a good set-up. I really loved this rally and I'm very happy to have won here. Hayden put me under some pressure so I am pleased to have won."
Pirelli Star Driver Hayden Paddon gave chase throughout the event and proved that he will be a force to be reckoned with on asphalt as well as gravel by securing second place in his Lancer.
"This is a real surprise," said the New Zealander afterwards. It's my first event on Tarmac and we didn't quite know where we were going to stand. Armindo did a fantastic job and I am happy just to be able to keep to his pace and put some pressure on him. I will be in Japan with my own team and I'm going to try to win there."
Hampered by an overheating problem on his Subaru Impreza, Patrik Flodin was a distant 2m45.1s behind in third. Nevertheless the Swede maintains second in the championship fight.
Wildcard entrant Hermann Gassner Jr took fourth in his Lancer Evolution IX after reporting a minor handbrake problem on Sunday morning. "I came here looking to be in the top five," said the 21-year-old German. "Of course a podium would have been the best result but that was not possible. But I am really happy to be at the finish in fourth place on my home rally. Apart from a small problem with the handbrake this morning I've not had any real problems."
Out of contention for overall honours after retiring on day one with a broken driveshaft, Toshi Arai gained some consolation by setting the fastest time on two of Sunday's five stages at the wheel of his Impreza. Co-driven by Briton Daniel Barritt, the Japanese double P-WRC champion was classified sixth, one place behind Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tanak.
Tanak won the P-WRC division in Finland but a suspension failure on Friday, caused when he struck a kerb, made for a frustrating Tarmac debut for the promising Estonian driver.
Pirelli Star Drivers Nick Georgiou and Peter Horsey restarted on Sunday following their respective retirements on day two. Georgiou took seventh with Horsey taking eighth on his first asphalt rally. Their Pirelli Star Driver team-mate Alex Raschi should have been fifth but his Lancer suffered a mechanical failure in the closing stages.
Nuno Barroso Pereira was the last of nine finishes in his Tommi Makinen Racing-built Impreza. The Portuguese driver was saddled by a 10-minute penalty handed out by the rally stewards on Friday for a servicing infringement.
Weijs takes dominant J-WRC victory in Germany
With a lead of more than five minutes starting the final five stages of Rallye Deutschland, Hans Weijs Jr could have been forgiven for taking things easy in his Citroen C2 Super 1600.
Instead, the Dutchman maintained his impressive pace right up until the finish, taking the fastest time through the event-closing SSS Circus Maximus stage in Trier to secure victory by a staggering margin of 5m19.2s.
While Weijs Jr could reflect on an impressive display afterwards there was a moment when all didn't go entirely to plan when a brake problem developed on Sunday's opening stage.
"The brakes weren't working so well so we had to bleed the brakes after the stage," said Weijs Jr. "But it was not really a serious problem and I didn't lose much time. Otherwise it was a great weekend for us. We tried to put pressure on the others from the beginning but when they made mistakes we were able to relax a little. Even so we always tried to stay focused because it is very easy to make a mistake in Germany. We showed good speed always and controlled the rally."
Weijs Jr is now fourth in the title standings, 15 points behind new series leader Aaron Burkart. With two scoring events left in France and Spain Weijs Jr admits the championship is still a possibility.
"We're coming back slowly after a difficult start to the season when we retired in Portugal," said Weijs Jr. "It's not looking so bad for the championship now but I know it will be a big fight."
Burkart took second after several delays in his Suzuki Swift. With title rival Kevin Abbring crashing out of Friday's opening test, the German's eventual capture of 18 points was enough to put him at the top of the standings by seven points over young Estonian Karl Kruuda.
"We've had some problems on this rally but to come away with the lead of the championship is a good result, especially as it's our home event," said Burkart. "Of course a win would have been special but I think this is the next best thing."
Driving a similar Suzuki, Kruuda finished third despite overshooting a few junctions on Sunday morning's stages on what was only his third event on asphalt.
German Christian Riedemann was an impressive fourth overall in his Ford Fiesta R2 after a relatively trouble-free outing.
Egoi Valdes Lopez was a distant fifth in his Renault Clio R3 with Yeray Lemes sixth in a Clio S1600. The Canary Islander restarted on Sunday following his retirement due to two punctures on day two. Having run as high as second, Lemes again impressed with two fastest stage times on the final day of competition.
Bulgarian Todor Slavov was the last of seven finishers in his Clio R3 after he returned on Sunday following his off on Saturday.