Dani Sordo moves ahead on leg 3 in Rallye Deutschland

In the WRC2, Citroen driver Robert Kubica enjoyed a magnificent duel with Elfyn Evans

Dani Sordo moves ahead on leg 3 in Rallye Deutschland

The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team crews enjoyed a strong third leg at Rallye Deutschland on what proved to be a very closely contested day. Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio now lead the rally, although they are only 8/10ths of second ahead of their closest challengers. Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen hold the final podium place in the provisional standings, which suggests the team is on course for a great overall result.

Daniel Sordo
Daniel Sordo

Photo by: XPB Images

Leaving behind the banks of the Mosel, the rally headed into the countryside of the Rhine region for the third day of racing. As the roads were dry, all the drivers opted to fit hard Michelin Pilot Sport tyres for the morning’s stages. Dani Sordo set about reminding everyone else that he had not given up hope of making up the 25-second gap to the lead by going fastest among the frontrunners.

And on Arena Panzerplatte, the Spaniard struck a mighty blow. After the 41km-long stage through the Baumholder military base, Dani had cut the gap to second place to just 9s. At the midday service, he confirmed his good form: “Although some corners were slippery, I didn’t think the conditions were particularly difficult. I felt confident, totally at ease in the car. I took a few risks on Panzerplatte to get the maximum out of the tyres.”

Despite an unwelcome detour into a field on SS10, Mikko Hirvonen held firm in fourth position: “I tend to be quite cautious on the dirtiest sections, because I have more to lose than to gain, given the time differences. I’m still driving at a strong pace and I feel I’m getting better, little by little.”

Forecast to fall yesterday evening, the rain finally put in an appearance during the midday service. All the crews therefore opted to go with soft tyres for the afternoon. As the conditions became trickier than ever, Dani Sordo’s confidence kept growing. Whilst Latvala retired after going off the road, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT driver closed the gap to Neuville to just 1.1s! On the next test, he grabbed the overall lead after claiming another stage win.

The second run on Arena Panzerplatte was cancelled after an accident involving a historic car taking part in a non-competitive demonstration. All the crews therefore headed back to Trier after SS13. “Obviously, like everyone in the team, my first thoughts go to the families and friends of the two crews members who were involved in this terrible accident,” commented Dani Sordo. “As regards the rally itself, I’m pleased to have been the quickest when the conditions were at their most difficult. We’re now in front, but the lead is less than a second. I’m going to remain totally focussed in order to tackle the final two stages in the best possible frame of mind. It’s going to be a great scrap tomorrow!”

As the hypothetical threat of Østberg disappeared completely when the Norwegian went off, Mikko Hirvonen was left somewhat isolated in the standings. “After finishing on the podium at my last five tarmac rallies, I’m going to try and keep the run going by bringing home this result,” confirmed the Finn. “We got through a difficult day and we’ll need to do the same thing tomorrow. Hopefully, we can secure a great result for the entire Citroën team.”

Now ninth overall, Khalid Al Qassimi was relieved to have made it to the end of the leg without incident: “It was all the more difficult because I had no experience in conditions like these. Even in my normal, everyday life, I’ve never driven in such heavy rain! I was extremely cautious in order to make it the end of the day without damaging the car.”

Leader of the WRC2 category this morning, Robert Kubica enjoyed a magnificent duel with Elfyn Evans throughout the leg. The DS3 RRC driver reclaimed the lead after SS13: “Yes, it was a good fight today, but for the time being, the results are not really what count most for me. I still have a lot to learn, not least about these conditions, where the grip is very different from one corner to the next.”

“Although our feeling of satisfaction is tempered by the circumstances, it has been a long time since we had such a positive day, with Citroën crews leading the overall standings as well as the WRC2 and WRC3 categories,” emphasized Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “Dani produced the kind of performance that we expected of him, showing total control in his driving on the tarmac. Mikko also produced a strong performance today, keeping out of trouble on these tricky stages. There are two long stages left to contest tomorrow to secure this result.”

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

shares
comments
Neuville fired-up for final day fight in Germany

Previous article

Neuville fired-up for final day fight in Germany

Next article

Rally Germany: tough day 3 for Volkswagen

Rally Germany: tough day 3 for Volkswagen
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium Prime

Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Prime

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Prime

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021