After heavy rainfalls during the first leg on Friday, blue sky and sunshine were overlooking the toughest day of ADAC Rallye Deutschland, tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship 2017. The famous military area of Baumholder was waiting with fast and rough concrete tracks, usually used by tanks. Twice nearly 42 kilometres of “Panzerplatte” were the most demanding tests on Saturday.
WRC 2 leaders Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE) had a smooth and trouble-free run during the first loop with their ŠKODA FABIA R5, while teammates Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE) ran into problems. On the last quarter of the 42 kilometres long stage, a tyre deflated. “I really didn’t hit anything. The right rear tyre went flat, came off the rim and caused some damage to the bodywork of the car,” commented Tidemand. He managed to finish the stage with a time loss of around 50 seconds and dropped from second to third in the category. His ŠKODA FABIA R5 proved again to be rock solid after the cosmetic damage has been repaired at the midday service, he could restart for the second loop. His main rival Teemu Suninen also suffered a puncture but lost more than two and a half minutes. “Now we are in the standings in the middle of nowhere, I have to stay concentrated and to bring the car to the finish”, said the Swedish ŠKODA driver.
On the second run of the long Panzerplatte stage, Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler got a puncture. But they changed the tyre in a record fast time of less than one and a half minutes and continued their drive. “I was braking on the racing line and suddenly on the next corner, the front left tyre was flat and we had to stop and change it,” commented the Czech Rally Champion.
“It was bad luck for Jan and Pontus, but that’s rallying. Now we want to fix the WRC 2 title on the final day of the rally,” said ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek.
Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson only have to master the remaining four special stages of roughly 52 kilometres during Sunday. Their task is clear: Finishing not lower than fourth in the category, while main rival Teemu Suninen must not win WRC 2.
Standings ADAC Rallye Deutschland after leg 2 (WRC 2)
1. Camilli/Veillas (FRA/FRA), Ford Fiesta R5, 2:40:14.1 h.
2. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +1:12.2 min.
3. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE) ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 1:23.4 min.
4. Greensmith/Parry (GBR/GBR), Ford Fiesta R5, 2:07.3 min.
5. Gilbert/Jamoul (FRA/FRA), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 2:57.5 min.
6. Suninen/Markkula (FIN/FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, 3:04.0 min.
Number of the day: 4
Four more stages to go – and Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson can be prematurely become World Rally Champions (WRC 2).
The 2017 calendar for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Rallye Monte Carlo; 19/01/–22/01/2017
Rally Sweden; 09/02/–12/02/2017
Rally Guanajuato México; 09/03/–12/03/2017
Tour de Corse – Rally France; 06/04/–09/04/2017
Rally Argentina; 27/04/–30/04/2017
Rally de Portugal; 18/05/–21/05/2017
Rally Italia Sardegna; 08/06/–11/06/2017
Rally Poland; 29/06/–02/07/2017
Rally Finland; 27/07/–30/07/2017
ADAC Rallye Deutschland; 17/08/–20/08/2017
RallyRACC Catalunya – Rallye de España; 05/10/–08/10/2017
Wales Rally GB; 26/10/–29/10/2017
Rally Australia; 16/11/–19/11/2017