Florian Niegel scored a Junior World Rally Championship point on his home event, the Rallye Deutschland, last weekend, but his chances of finishing further up the order - and possibly on the podium - were compromised by a mistake on day two.
Niegel finished the first leg in fifth place in the JWRC category but, on SS7, the opening test on Saturday, he was forced to stop and change a wheel after hitting a tree.
That incident cost the Suzuki Rallye Junior Team Germany driver around six minutes and dropped him to tenth in the JWRC classification. While he fought back to claim the final point in his Swift S1600, he admitted he should have finished a lot higher up.
"It was a pity that we had the problem on the second day as, without it, I think we could have finished comfortably in the points, maybe even in third - which would have been a great result given our level of experience,” he confirmed, “Still, these things can happen in rallying and it is all part of the learning experience.
“On the final day, we just concentrated on trying to get safely to the finish and not making any more mistakes.
“The car was great throughout the rally, giving us no problems at all, and we enjoyed a lot of local support. It was fantastic to see so many people out on the Rallye Deutschland this year and I hope we gave them a good show.
“The most important thing for me is that I had plenty of time in the car and I was able to learn many things that will be useful for the next JWRC rounds on asphalt in Spain and Corsica."
Niegel was the only Suzuki runner competing in the Junior World Rally Championship category in Germany as Jaan Molder and Michal Kosciuszko both opted not to nominate the Trier-based event as one of their six points-scoring opportunities.