Ford Fiesta WRC drivers Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja claimed their second FIA World Rally Championship victory today when they took the top step of the podium on Rallye Deutschland. The Estonians led from the first full day of competition on Friday to take their first Tarmac win on an event their M-Sport team had yet to conquer. Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jaeger held off Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia for second position, a fine result for the Norwegians on their third event with Citroen and first on asphalt for the French manufacturer.
“It’s a great feeling!” said Tanak. “The start to the rally went perfectly. After that it was just about controlling our lead. Winning our first Tarmac event feels cool. With 25 points here I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight for the Championship. We will keep fighting; we need to keep winning if we’re going to win the Championship.”
In the race for the title, Ogier had hoped for better but with Thierry Neuville retiring yesterday and failing to score any Power Stage points, the Frenchman now has a 17-point advantage over the Belgian with three rounds remaining. Tanak maintains third but still with a chance of fighting for the title. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, M-Sport’s double podium sees it take an impressive 64-point advantage over Hyundai who had a more than disappointing weekend in Germany.
Today’s route was by far the shortest and covered two identical loops of two stages covering 51.94 competitive kilometers. In confident mood, Tanak was able to control his pace through the closing stages and never looked challenged before ultimately taking the win by 16.4 seconds. Mikkelsen nevertheless kept the pressure on the Estonian and fended off Ogier to take Citroen’s second podium of the season after Kris Meeke’s victory in Mexico. With both Ogier and Neuville making mistakes earlier in the event, Ogier adopted a more cautious approach after his Championship rival retired yesterday and the Frenchman set his sights on maintaining position and scoring as many points in the Power Stage as possible. He picked up two additional points.
Behind the leading trio, Juho Hanninen managed to climb to fourth; the Finn overhauled Elfyn Evans in the day’s opener when the Welshman overshot a junction and stalled. Evans’ woes continued with probably not the best tire choice and he was passed by Craig Breen in the final stage, the Irish driver closing the gap in the penultimate stage with fastest time and powering ahead in the final one, dropping Evans to sixth. Jari-Matti Latvala salvaged some extra points for third in the Power Stage, adding to his tally for seventh overall. Hayden Paddon was the lead Hyundai driver in eighth and while teammate Dani Sordo finished way down the order, the Spaniard took some consolation from maximum points in the Power Stage. Germany’s Armin Kremer finish ninth in his first outing in a 2017 spec WRC car.
Eric Camilli rounded off the top 10 and also won the FIA WRC 2 Championship category in a Fiesta R5. He headed asphalt ace Jan Kopecky by nearly a minute. Pontus Tidemand’s third position was enough to secure the Swede an unassailable lead in the category and he provisionally takes the title with three rounds remaining (subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA). In the FIA Junior WRC Championship, local driver Julius Tannert took a dream win by an enormous margin after his rivals hit problems. Nil Solans, second in the category, looks on course to win the title on the final round of their Championship in Spain, but the Spaniard claimed the FIA WRC 3 Championship title here in Germany (subject to results becoming official).
The FIA World Rally Championship contenders now take a break before returning to action for Rally España (5-8 October).