Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers Armin Schwarz and Jan KopeckÃ½ ended the opening leg of Rallye Deutschland in ninth and 13th places respectively. However Alex Bengue was forced to retire from the event when he spun his Fabia WRC 05...
Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers Armin Schwarz and Jan Kopecký ended the opening leg of Rallye Deutschland in ninth and 13th places respectively.
However Alex Bengue was forced to retire from the event when he spun his Fabia WRC 05 into a vineyard near the end of SS3 and could not regain the road despite the help of the spectators.
The event began last night in Trier where thousands of rally fans gathered to wave the crews off despite a heavy rain storm. Happily the rain has now moved on and todays six stages were run in mainly dry conditions with just a few wet areas under the trees.
Tomorrows leg features six stages in the military training area at Baumholder where large concrete tank traps (known as hinkelsteins) line the stages and have all-too frequently caused problems for drivers who make even the slightest error. The day concludes with a spectator stage at St Wendel, bringing the stage distance to 145.94kms.
Armin Schwarz: "I couldnt get the car working properly this morning but we solved the problem in service. This afternoon was good and we set two top 10 times but Baumholder could suit us better."
Jan Kopecký: "The stages are lined with hundreds of Czech fans waving flags and cheering. Maybe 30% are Czechs. There is a fantastic atmosphere and we must thank them all for giving us this support."
Alex Bengue: "I am really upset at my mistake. We cut a hairpin near the end of the stage and the bank on the inside pushed the car into a spin. We ended up in the vineyard with a very steep slope back to the road. The spectators tried to help but it was too steep and we had to stop. The car was completely undamaged and we drove it back to service ourselves."
Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Skoda Motorsport): "We had hoped for a good result from Alex so it was disappointing to lose him through a small driving error. He will not continue in SupeRally as the roads here are not typical of the other asphalt events in the championship and so it will be better to save the car and use it for a more realistic test later in the season. There is a long way to go so we can still get a good finish from one of our other drivers."