The fifty remaining competitors left a misty Trier this morning to tackle the final 102 competitive kilometres of Rallye Deutschland, the tenth round of the World Rally Championship. Run in the countryside to the south of Trier, the final Leg ...
The fifty remaining competitors left a misty Trier this morning to tackle the final 102 competitive kilometres of Rallye Deutschland, the tenth round of the World Rally Championship.
Run in the countryside to the south of Trier, the final Leg comprised seven fast, narrow stages including more high-speed straights and tight hairpins. Passing twice through three special stages before concluding with another run through the short St. Wendel Super Special, the route was contested under clear skies and in dry and bright conditions.
After a gripping battle for victory, 28 year old Sebastian Loeb won the rally and claimed his first ever WRC win. Richard Burns was second and Marcus Gronholm third. With Citroen not eligible for manufacturers' points, Peugeot scored another maximum points haul, their sixth of the season. In a day full of surprises, the rally's demanding stages brought another two high profile retirements. Ford privateer Armin Kremer, who was tenth overnight, and eleventh placed Peugeot driver Harri Rovanpera both crashed out.
In the fight for World Championship points, 555 Subaru driver Tommi Mäkinen pushed hard and finished seventh to claim two World Championship manufacturer points for the 555 Subaru team.
SS17 0810hrs Peterberg 1 (15.03km)
Fastest time: Loeb (Citroen) 8:07.6
It was drama all the way on the first stage. The long straights and tight hairpins proved too much for privateer Armin Kremer who, running third on the road in his Focus WRC01, slid wide 6km from the start and crashed. His car caught fire and, although the crew was uninjured, retirement was instant. Slowing to avoid the incident Mäkinen, following fourth on the road, lost over ten seconds, while Delecour and Martin, running fifth and sixth, were instructed to slow and lost more than a minute and two minutes respectively. The stage was then stopped to allow emergency crews to reach the accident scene. Once underway again, Carlos Sainz stalled his Ford Focus WRC02 on the start line and dropped more than two minutes. Looking to the leaders, no change for the overall top-four. Loeb was quickest with Burns second and McRae third. Gronholm was fourth. In light of the delay to some competitors, stewards adjusted the times for Mäkinen Delecour and Martin. Mäkinen moved up to eighth place overall.
SS18 0838hrs St. Wendeler Land 1 (17.71km)
Fastest time: Burns (Peugeot) 8:46.4
Burns was fastest and clawed back nearly four seconds from Loeb, who was second. At the end of the stage, just 8.1 seconds separated the two leading drivers. Gronholm was a further 10 seconds behind in third and trailed his British team-mate by 39.5 seconds overall. Rovanpera was fourth fastest despite losing a rear wing. Mäkinen was eighth, making just over six seconds on Francois Delecour in the overall standings. At the end of the stage he remained in eighth place, 6.9 seconds behind the Frenchman.
SS19 0911hrs Bosenberg 1 (15.82km)
Fastest time: Loeb (Citroen) 7:39.0
Another fast stage and this time problems for Peugeot's Rovanpera. Still running with no rear wing, the Finn could not find enough downforce to control the car and crashed out of the rally close to the finish line. He managed to complete the stage, but later retired with irreparable damage to his Peugeot WRC. Back at the top, Loeb answered Burns' previous win by storming through the stage five seconds quicker than the Brit to extend his overall lead to 13.3 seconds. Gronholm was third quickest, the position that he held overall. At the end of the test, the Finn trailed the leader by 50.2 seconds. A sixth fastest time for Tommi Mäkinen saw the Subaru star dislodge Delecour on the leaderboard and move up the overall standings to seventh.
SS20 1116hrs Peterberg 2 (15.03km)
Fastest time: Burns (Peugeot) 8:09.1
The first repeated stage of the Leg, but no repeat of the dramas seen on the first run through the tricky 15.03km test. Burns continued to breathe down Loeb's neck by finishing fastest to make up a second on the Frenchman's overall lead. He finished trailing just 12.2 seconds overall. Loeb was second quickest. An excellent run too for Tommi Mäkinen in his Subaru Impreza. The Finn, on a charge to catch Ford's Markko Martin, was joint third with Gronholm. Lying in seventh place overall, the four-time World Champion finished the stage just 18.6 seconds behind the young Estonian.
SS21 1144hrs St. Wendeler Land 2 (17.71km)
Fastest time: Burns (Peugoet) 8:46.3
Tight at the top. Despite clinching his third win of the day, at the end of the stage Burns remained 12.1 seconds adrift of Loeb overall. The Brit was just 0.1 seconds faster than the flying Frenchman with Gronholm, driving more steadily to maintain overall third position, a further 4 seconds slower. Another good drive by Mäkinen saw the Finn take a further 6.7 seconds out of overall sixth placed Markko Martin's time. He trailed the Estonian by just 11.9 seconds at the end of the test. Colin McRae was seventh fastest and maintained overall fourth place.
SS22 1217hrs Bosenberg 2 (15.82km)
Fastest time: Loeb (Citroen) 7:38.9
As the pressure mounted, Loeb was quickest through the penultimate stage, followed by a chasing Burns and his team-mate Gronholm. Loeb extended his lead to 14.7 seconds and, with just one stage remaining, looked in a good position to clinch his first ever WRC win. Mäkinen continued his charge and slashed another seven seconds from Martin's overall time. The Finn needed to find five more seconds in the remaining stage to snatch sixth.
SS23 1340hrs Super Special Stage St. Wendel 2 (5.81km)
Fastest time: Burns (Peugeot) 3:36.9
Sebastian Loeb held his nerve and cruised through the final spectator pleasing Super Special Stage of St. Wendel to set second fastest time and claim his first ever WRC victory. Burns was fastest but, with a 14.3 second deficit to his young rival, had to settle for second overall. Team-mate Gronholm was third fastest, the same position that he held overall. Despite only finishing eighth fastest, McRae secured fourth, 1m33.5s ahead of Thiry, who finished fifth. Mäkinen was fifth quickest, just over a second behind Markko Martin to pick up 2 points for the 555 Subaru Team.
The Next Event
Following two events back to back, round eleven of the 2002 World Rally Championship starts in four weeks time when teams travel to Italy for Rallye Sanremo. A compact asphalt event, the rally comprises twisty stages run in mountain roads to the north of the town. The rally begins on 20th September.