WRC

Rallye Deutschland: Final summary

44 crews started Leg three, 12 of which restarted under Superally regulations. Leg three included 90 competitive kilometres and six stages located to the East of the host town, Trier. Five stages were run in the Saarland farming area, with one ...

44 crews started Leg three, 12 of which restarted under Superally regulations. Leg three included 90 competitive kilometres and six stages located to the East of the host town, Trier. Five stages were run in the Saarland farming area, with one Superspecial in the medieval town of St. Wendel. The day stayed dry and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 11 - 24 C.

Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) scored his eighth victory of the season and his fourth consecutive German success, cruising through the final day to beat team-mate François Duval by 37.4sec. The Frenchman extended his championship lead to 32 points and the 1-2 result lifted the French team back into the lead of the manufacturers' series. Team-mates Marcus Grönholm and Markko Märtin (both Peugeot) were similarly untroubled en route to third and fourth. Behind the Galli and Kresta battle, Petter Solberg (Subaru) climbed back into the points following yesterday's gear selection troubles by finishing seventh. His cause was helped when team-mate Stephane Sarrazin drove the final three stages with a broken front right driveshaft. However, the Frenchman claimed the final drivers' and manufacturers' point in eighth. Jan Kopecky (Skoda) was the only major retirement today when he crashed out of ninth and ripped the rear left wheel from his car on the third stage this morning.

Citroen

Taking the WRC Rally of Germany 1-2 once wasn't enough for Citroen at the weekend (26-28 August 2005); the French car maker did it twice! Stamping its total domination on the latest round of the World Rally Championship, first Citroen's Sebastien Loeb won the rally for the fourth consecutive time - no one else has ever won this event in its history at WRC level - in his eighth win of the season, followed home by team mate François Duval in a performance that saw no other driver, team or car take a fastest stage time or the lead of the event on day one or day two. Then, as the icing on the cake, Citroen's Junior World Rally Championship drivers, Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke, brought their Citroen C2 cars home in a second Citroen 1-2! For Loeb, the win - his 18th career victory - gives him a 32 point lead over Marcus Gronholm and, along with the points gifted by Duval, puts Citroen back in the lead of the manufacturers' title chase.

Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "Everyone knows that I consider the Deutschland Rally to be my home event," said Seb to the backdrop of the incredible hubbub of final service. "This is the rally my childhood friends come to watch and I really wanted to win it again; it's great to have succeeded. Like François, we pushed hard on Day 1, and then it was a case of controlling from in front. That's less fun, but that was amply outweighed by the pleasure we derived from scoring such a superb result for the team. It's looking promising for the rest of the season!"

Francois Duval/Sven Smeets: Running in the wake of the reigning World Champion - and at the same pace - from Day 1, François Duval and Sven Smeets went on to make it a resounding one-two finish for Citroen. "It's been a tremendous weekend for us and for Citroen," beamed François after saluting his fans who were just as numerous and enthusiastic as those of his team-mate. "Sven and I had the potential to win but the way the event unfolded meant that we had to make sure of finishing first and second. It was a little stressful because we couldn't afford to make any mistakes. To have shown that I am capable of matching Seb's speed is very important for me, for my confidence and for my future."

Subaru

Subaru's lead driver Petter Solberg crossed the finish ramp of Rallye Deutschland in seventh place this afternoon after a tough three days of competition on the German asphalt. On the Leg's six stages Solberg continued to make up lost time, after problems on day two dropped him from fourth to 13th overall. Determined to achieve the best possible result, he pushed hard right until the end and set the fastest time on the penultimate special stage. Stephane Sarrazin's day started well, with the French asphalt ace closely matching the pace of the lead Citroen duo on SS14, but a broken driveshaft later on meant he had to settle for eighth overall. Chris Atkinson completed a trouble-free run on his first ever asphalt rally to finish 11th overall.

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: Today Stephane and I agreed not to fight for this position, as he had deserved this place. It was very unfortunate that his driveshaft problem then cost him the place giving me the extra point. On the whole, today was better for me as the stages were narrow and twistier and suited the car and me. We kept pushing, always trying a few things and kept learning more. We now have lots of work to do before Rally GB, as we want to be able to push for a fourth win there!

Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: I am very happy with my pace all weekend, although the result itself was not so great. Today it was a big shame to lose the driveshaft and with it another position. I now know that I can fight with the top guys and being in the same car as Petter am pleased that I have swapped and sometimes bettered his times. When I push I know I can be very fast. I am pleased with the car and it is so easy to drive which gives me the extra confidence to push and drive fast. I'm now looking forward to Corsica and Spain when we should be able to get a good result.

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: This has been one of my better rallies of the year, despite never having driven a tarmac rally before. I have been improving steadily all weekend and that is encouraging. I started the weekend nearly three seconds a kilometre behind the top drivers but by today that gap has been as little as 0.4 seconds a kilometre. I'm definitely happy with my progress and have met or exceeded all the targets we agreed before the weekend. There's a lot we can take away from here that will stand us in good stead for the tarmac rallies later in the year.

Ford

BP-Ford World Rally team driver Roman Kresta matched his career best result when he and co-driver Jan Tománek finished sixth on Germany's OMV ADAC Rallye today. The Czech duo enjoyed a thrilling final day battle with Gigi Galli on this 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The result was in doubt until the final few kilometres of the 355.40km event when Kresta's Ford Focus RS World Rally Car was edged out of fifth by his Italian rival. Dani Solà and Xavier Amigo finished 12th in a privately-entered Focus RS after losing more than eight minutes when they went off the road this morning. Toni Gardemeister and Jakke Honkanen, driving another BP-Ford Focus RS, climbed to 17th after yesterday's time loss.

Toni Gardemeister/Jakke Honkanen: Gardemeister climbed from 23rd to 17th today, the Finn using the final leg as a test session after losing more than 20 minutes yesterday with an electrical problem. "It was a disappointing weekend for me," said the 30-year-old Finn. "It was difficult to fight for good times and then the problem cost me a lot more time. I have tested tyre and suspension set-up today so the data we have gathered from that has been useful. I'm pleased I made it to the finish, but I wanted a good result here and that didn't happen."

Daniel Sola/Xavier Amigo: Spaniards Solà and Amigo were eighth overnight in a privately-entered Focus RS, having been as high as fifth yesterday afternoon. However, they dropped to 13th after going off the road on the second stage this morning and losing more than eight minutes. "Going into a left corner, I went slightly off the road," said Solà . "I tried to correct it but ended up in a field. I couldn't see where to go because the grass was long and in trying to get back onto the road I drove into a ditch. It took a long time to get out again. "I tried a stiffer roll bar on the car but that was a mistake because I had a lot of understeer and didn't have a good feeling. It's a shame I tried that because that's why I ended up in the field. My pre-event plan was to use this rally as a test for future rounds. From that view it has been a good weekend. I've improved my speed and learned a lot about the car on asphalt, but it hasn't been easy. The team has worked well with me to set up the car in the way I want," he added.

Roman Kresta/Jan Mozny: "I could have driven faster but that would have meant taking risks, and I didn't want to do that," said Kresta. "It's better to finish sixth than not at all. I really wanted the points and this is a good result for me and the BP-Ford team. The battle with Gigi was good for the spectators to watch but not so easy for me! "I held fourth on the first day and I think that if I had not made any mistakes I could have finished there. The Focus has been perfect for all three days and the only things that have gone wrong were my fault. I had a good test before the rally and that helped me a lot," added Kresta, who moved up to eighth in the drivers' standings. The result matched his sixth place finishes in Cyprus and Sardinia earlier in the season.

Peugeot

The two Peugeot 307WRCs of Marcus Gronholm and Markko Martin have finished the all-asphalt Rally Deustchland in third and fourth places, allowing Peugeot to stay in close touch with new championship leaders Citroen. Marcus consolidates his second place to Sebastien Loeb in the drivers' championship, while Markko is closing in on third-placed Petter Solberg.

Marcus Gronhölm/Timo Rautiainen: "I have to be pleased with third, as it was the best we could achieve here. Nobody could compete with the Citroens: they were in a class of their own here. Looking on the positive side, the car was totally reliable and we were faster than anybody else. Now I'm looking forward to getting back onto gravel. I think we have a better chance of winning there!"

Markko Martin/Michael Park: "This was quite a straightforward rally for me. I lost time on the first day when a tyre came off the rim, but by the end of it I was back to fourth again and from then on it was just a question of holding that position. I had a bit of excitement today when the Ford of Daniel Sola held me up in the morning and I had to overtake him, but apart from that we had no dramas. It was a good, solid performance from ourselves and the team."

Skoda

Jan Kopecký's Rallye Deutschland ended this morning when the Czech Rally Champion slid off the road into a tree near the end of the third stage. The Fabia WRC 05 suffered damage to the left rear and he was unable to continue. On the opening stage of the day Jan had set eighth fastest time and was sixth on the next stage, moving into ninth place overall as a result. The two other Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers, Alex Bengue and Armin Schwarz both retired from the event, Alex after leaving the road at a tricky corner on the third stage and Armin with engine damage caused by his crash on SS8.

Armin Schwarz/Klaus Wicha: Retired

Alex Bengue/Caroline Escudero: Retired

Jan Kopecký/Filip Schovánek: The set up of the car was great today and I was feeling very confident. We were not pushing hard but were trying to drive our own rally. Perhaps I wasn't concentrating enough or I misunderstood Filip but I was too late on the brakes and we slid wide into a tree. It was my first mistake on this event but it was a costly one.

Mitsubishi:

The Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 crew of "Gigi" Galli and Guido d'Amore claimed a personal best in the FIA World Rally Championship today when they finished Rallye Deutschland, the first true asphalt event of the season, in fifth position. The Italians also registered a fastest stage time today in only their second outing on Tarmac in a Mitsubishi world rally car. Team-mates Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen finished 10th in their first sealed surface event since Sanremo in 2002.

Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen: All the stages in this rally have effectively been new to me and I have only been listening to the notes and trying to stay on the road; I have no preview memories of this event", said Harri Rovanperä. "I am happy our car ran without problems and we reached the finish. We've stalled a couple of times today due to a problem with the handbrake and that's why we lost position, but okay, we have learned a lot and the next two asphalt rallies will be better I think.

Gigi Galli/Guido D'Amore: A very interesting day….!" said Galli at the finish. "I can't really believe it because our goal was to do well but not push hard and go off the road. Everyone in the team worked really well and at lunchtime I felt great support and that gave me real confidence this afternoon. Today, we made no mistakes at all and that makes a difference. It was a very tricky rally and we have made another step forward with the team and also our career. I am really surprised to have done that on this rally!"

-rallyenewsletter-

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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team