On Saturday, with eight special stages totalling 157.92 kilometres, the longest day of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, was waiting for the crews. After four fast morning stages on small roads in the Saarland and the Rhineland Palatinate Region, the gruelling military area of Baumholder had to be mastered. The abrasive concrete roads, lined by concrete blocks, the infamous “Hinkelsteins”, again proved to be a tough test for men and machines.
The sunny Saturday morning started really bad for Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen, who finished the Friday with a clear lead in the WRC 2 Pro category and on top of that being the quickest R5 crew. During the first Saturday stage, they slid off the road after the last corner, their ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo getting stuck in the botanic. Spectators finally pushed them back onto the road. But as they were not many on that spot, it took some time and the Finns lost more than four minutes, dropping them well down the field. “It was a stupid mistake, I didn’t have it that narrow in my notes and went too wide and got stuck in the grass. I feel sorry for the team,” Kalle Rovanperä explained. It was really not his morning. One stage later, after a jump he slid off the road again and lost another 23 seconds to his teammate Jan Kopecký, who was now comfortably leading the WRC 2 Pro category. “We have to be really focused, because the stages are very tricky – there is a lot of loose gravel everywhere,” commented the recently crowned Czech Rally Champion at the midday rest halt at Lake Bostal.
In the afternoon however, the really tough business started. With temperatures above 30 degrees and even higher inside the rally cars, the 103.8 kilometres on the famous “Panzerplatte” promised to be really hot. Jan Kopecký defended his lead despite a puncture on the last stage of the day. Meanwhile, Kalle Rovanperä took no risks with his ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo in order to secure the manufacturers’ and drivers’ points in the WRC 2 Pro category. At the end of the day, he had moved from fourth to third position.
In the WRC 2 category for private teams, Fabian Kreim (German champion 2016 and 2017) and reigning German champion Marijan Griebel, both being supported by ŠKODA Auto Deutschland, secured a double lead on their first event with the new ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo.
Sunday (25 August) tops up the competitive route to a total of 19 tests covering 344.04 kilometres. The winner will reach the podium at Lake Bostal on Sunday at around 14h00.
Standings ADAC Rallye Deutschland after Day 3 (WRC 2 Pro/WRC 2)
1. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, 2:36:36.5 h*
2. Camilli/Veillas (FRA/FRA), Ford Fiesta R5 MKII, +34.0 sec.*
3. Kreim/Braun (GER/GER), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, +1:05.4 min.
4. Griebel/Winklhofer (GER/GER), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, +1:22.3 min.
5. Kajetanowicz/Szcepaniak (POL/POL), VW Polo GTI R5, +1:30.8 min.
6. Andolfi/Scattolin (ITA/ITA), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +1:44.9 min.
7. Rovanperä/Halttunen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, 3:20.8 min*
8. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 R5, +4:01.3 min*
*Factory nominated crews eligible to score points in the WRC 2 Pro category
Number of the day: 41.17
The longest stage of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the famous “Panzerplatte”, was running over 41.17 kilometres.
The calendar of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2 Pro)
Great Britain 03/10/–06/10/2019