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WRC - SS2-3: Tänak takes Germany lead

Early troubles for Neuville

18 August 2017 - 11h58, by www.wrc.com 

Ott Tänak led ADAC Rallye Deutschland after Friday morning’s opening two speed tests, but there were early troubles for title rivals Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier.

After lying second overnight, the Estonian was fifth in the opening Wadern-Weiskirchen test in his Ford Fiesta. He then won Mittelmosel as this 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship moved into the Mosel vineyards.

Tänak led Ogier by 4.2sec but, like most drivers, was caught out by conditions that were drier than expected. With heavy rain forecast, most carried soft compound tyres but early showers stopped and the asphalt quickly dried.

“We expected it would be wet but it was mostly dry. Very difficult. I hope we have the right information for the next stages,” said Tänak.

Andreas Mikkelsen shrugged off the disadvantage of dirty roads due to a low start position to hold second in his Citroën C3.

“We’re pushing hard and taking risks but we have to. There’s so much gravel on the roads and I’m trying to limit the time loss,” said the Norwegian, who posted top four times in both stages.

Ogier lost a handful of seconds when he spun his Ford Fiesta into a field early in Wadern-Weiskirchen. The Frenchman was second in Mittelmosel to hold third, 1.0sec behind Mikkeslen.

Dani Sordo was fastest in SS2 to lead the rally, but the Spaniard dropped 6.0sec off the pace to fourth following Mittelmosel. Jari-Matti Latvala and Elfyn Evans completed the top six, Latvala’s Toyota Yaris carrying front wing damage after clipping a wooden pole.

Championship leader Thierry Neuville was seventh after finishing Mittelmosel with front damage to his Hyundai i20.

“A kilometre after the start there was a dry section which became humid under braking. I went off nto the vineyard and lost the front splitter. I have no downforce so I’m struggling under braking,” explained the Belgian.

Juho Hänninen was also in trouble in the same test, sliding wide into the grapes and hitting a post. His Yaris carried damage to the roof vent, front splitter and rear spoiler.

Kris Meeke restarted after yesterday’s retirement with a 10min penalty. There was more drama overnight as co-driver Paul Nagle’s wife, Cathy, who is expecting their first child, went into hospital.

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