ADAC Rallye Deutschland started on Thursday evening with a show special stage in the streets of St. Wendel, a village some 36 kilometres in the northwest of the county’s capital Saarbrücken. On the short stage, the ŠKODA factory crews proved to be real street fighters. Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) set the second quickest time overall, followed by their teammates Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjaermœn (NOR/NOR) – this time not registered in the WRC 2 classification – and the Czech Rally Champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE). In RC 2 class, they held the top three positions after the first stage, but Kopecký admitted: “It was a lot of fun to drive our ŠKODA FABIA R5 on these narrow streets, but the real rally will start tomorrow.”
With “real rally” Jan Kopecký meant the stages in the famous vineyards along the river Mosel, which on Friday were waiting for the crews. The weather was sunny on the first stage of the morning loop, but for the afternoon some rain was predicted. In combination with the narrow roads, which are often covered with mud in the corners, a real challenge was waiting for the competitors. While Jan Kopecký set the fastest time and stormed into the category lead, 17 years old Kalle Rovanperä chose a careful approach and held on to fifth position.
Into the third stage, it finally started to rain. However, Kopecký managed to defend his WRC 2 lead. “Ten kilometres after the start of the stage, it began to rain heavily. There was even standing water on some places,” reported the Czech Rally Champion.
His teammate Kalle Rovanperä, starting further down in the order, was strongly affected by the rain, lost valuable time and dropped to the eighth position. “We could have gone much faster, but we took it cautious,” resumed the young Finn. With a fastest time in the WRC 2 category for the fourth stage, he moved up to the seventh place in the WRC 2 interim classification.
After the service break, the crews had to face the repetition of the morning loop – and the weather forecast was unpredictable again, same as in the morning. But in the afternoon, there were no additional rainfalls and with three fastest times, Jan Kopecký managed to increase is lead to more than 22 seconds. His young teammate Kalle Rovanperä, after a clever ride in fifth position, still has a podium position in reach. Saturday’s (18 August) focus will be with eight special stages mainly on the military area of Baumholder and the famous “Panzerplatte”.
Standings ADAC Rallye Deutschland after Day 2 (WRC 2)
1. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 1:04:06.8 h
2. Bonato/Boulloud (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 R5, +22.2 sec.
3. Camilli/Veillas, (FRA/FRA), Ford Fiesta R5, +22.3 sec.
4. Kajetanovicz/Szepaniak (POL/POL), Ford Fiesta R5, +37.0 sec.
5. Rovanperä/Halttunen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +38.8 sec.
6. Solans/Ibánez (ESP/ESP), Ford Fiesta R5, +46.5 sec.
Number of the day: 6
During ADAC Rallye Deutschland’s first two days ŠKODA crews set six fastest WRC 2 times. Jan Kopecký won three, Kalle Rovanperä two and ŠKODA Auto Deutschland’s Fabian Kreim one stage.
The calendar of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018