Citroen's Sebastien Ogier looks set to win the ADAC Rallye Deutschland and following Sunday morning's opening loop he remains way out front.
Ogier inherited the lead yesterday in the final stage when team-mate Sebastien Loeb picked up a puncture in Panzerplatte 2 and lost more than a minute. Ogier paced himself through Dhrontal 1 and Moselwein 1, setting the seventh and sixth quickest times, and while Loeb was quicker and took back 10 seconds, it is clear both are concentrating on just getting to the finish in Trier.
“I'm just driving very safely, avoiding all cuts so I don't get a puncture,” Ogier confirmed.
“Now it's only one minute left [to Ogier]!” Loeb joked. “I'm not concerned about the weather.”
Meanwhile, Dani Sordo remains on course for the final place on the podium for MINI and while Mikko Hirvonen has cut the gap – down from 33.1 seconds to 25.9 seconds, after the Ford man won SS15 and was third in SS16 - the Spaniard still looks very comfortable.
The only change in the top-ten concerned Kris Meeke in the other MINI, the Brit losing fifth to Citroen privateer Petter Solberg after a mistake in Moselwein, when he went off the road. Meeke is now 5.2 seconds back.
F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is next up and seventh in his ICE 1 Racing DS3 WRC car, albeit almost 2.5 minutes off the fight for P5, followed by M-Sport Stobart man Henning Solberg, Armindo Araujo and Peter van Merksteijn Jr in positions 8 thorough to 10.
Of the rest, Ott Tanak continues to lead the SWRC – more than 4 minutes up on his closest rival, while Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala re-started this morning under the SupeRally and is now up from 19th to 15th. Latvala was quickest in SS16 - to take his third stage win of the weekend.
Mads Ostberg was the biggest scalp this morning, crashing out in SS16. The M-Sport Stobart man had been running way down the order though, after damaging his cars suspension in SS3 on Friday and losing more than 8 minutes. He also had more issues on Saturday with two punctures in the final two stages.
The action now draws to a close with a repeat-run through this morning's two tests and then the 4.37 km Power Stage run through Trier [SS19].
SS17, the 20.85 km-run through Dhrontal 2, is due to start at 11.29 hours local time [10.29 hours UK time].
Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 16 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier
Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 06mins 33.5secs
2. Sebastien Loeb
Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +01mins 01.3secs
3. Dani Sordo
Mini WRT John Cooper Works +02mins 03.9secs
4. Mikko Hirvonen
Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 29.8secs
5. Petter Solberg
PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +03mins 34.4secs
6. Kris Meeke
Mini WRT John Cooper Works +03mins 39.6secs
7. Kimi Raikkonen
ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC +06mins 07.0secs
8. Henning Solberg
M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06mins 51.0secs
9. Armindo Araujo
Motorsport Italia Mini John Cooper Works +08mins 32.3secs
10. Peter van Merksteijn
Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRC +09mins 11.7secs
11. Dennis Kuipers
FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 19.1secs
12. Matthew Wilson
M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 52.1secs
13. Ott Tanak
Ford Fiesta S2000 +12mins 06.5secs
14. Hans Weijs Jr
VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +12mins 50.5secs
15. Jari-Matti Latvala
Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +16mins 01.2secs
16. Christian Riedemann
VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +16mins 02.1secs
18. Ken Block
Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +17mins 49.4secs
24. Daniel Oliveira
Brazil WRT Mini John Cooper Works +24mins 08.1secs
26. Aaron Burkart
M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +27mins 49.5secs
SWRC standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):
1. Ott Tanak
Ford Fiesta S2000 3hrs 18mins 40.0secs
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah
Ford Fiesta S2000 +04mins 51.4secs
3. Frigyes Turan
Ford Fiesta S2000 +07mins 40.9secs
WRC Academy standings after Stage 14 (Top 8)#:
1. Craig Breen
Ford Fiesta R2 3hours 07mins 54.0secs
2. Yeray Lemes
Ford Fiesta R2 +00mins 15.1secs
3. Andrea Crugnola
Ford Fiesta R2 +01mins 43.2secs
4. Jose Suarez
Ford Fiesta R2 +01mins 58.2secs
5. Jan Cerny
Ford Fiesta R2 +02mins 26.0secs
6. Fredrik Ahlin
Ford Fiesta R2 +03mins 08.5secs
7. Sepp Wiegand
Ford Fiesta R2 +03mins 55.8secs
8. Egon Kaur
Ford Fiesta R2 +04mins 27.7secs
# WRC Academy does not include day 3 of the event
SS6. Aaron Burkart
M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Brake problems
SS13/14. Jari-Matti Latvala
Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC Did not start SS14
SS16. Mads Ostberg
M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Crashed out
* denotes re-started under SupeRally
all times unofficial