Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala has increased his overnight lead on Rallye Deutschland this morning.
Latvala began the day 37 seconds up on Kris Meeke and the Finn beat the Briton in all three tests, as well as going quickest in SS9 and SS10. As a result he stretched his advantage by 8.8 seconds and now goes back to service in Trier with a 45.8 second margin. Not that he is complacent, as Sebastien Ogier's crash on Friday and another crash this morning in SS8 – which resulted in the test being cancelled – shows just how treacherous the German event can be.
“I have to be happy,” said Latvala after SS10, the long 42.51 km Panzerplatte test. “It was a bit slippery in places, it was not easy, we have to be focused all the time but it is going well at the moment.”
Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia were both okay after their ”big crash”
in Peterberg 1, but were taken to hospital for precautionary checks. Ogier, who had re-started under Rally 2 this morning and who was running first on the road, made heavy contact with a barrier near the start of the stage.
Meanwhile, Meeke meanwhile remains second overall in his Citroen DS3 WRC car, having been fifth in SS7 and third in SS9 and SS10.
Thierry Neuville is next up in third, gaining two positions and leapfrogging his Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo and Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen in SS10, when he put in a storming time – only 0.7 seconds slower than Latvala. Neuville is now 1.3 seconds up on Sordo, who in turn is 11 seconds ahead of Mikkelsen.
Elfyn Evans was another mover in SS10, the seventh best time enough to put him ahead of his team-mate and M-Sport team leader, Mikko Hirvonen, albeit by just 0.4 seconds.
“It's been a bit of an eventful morning but we had a decent enough run on the first one [SS7] – I think we coped well in there. Baumholder was a bit trickier. It was a bit of a mixed decision about which tyres to go on. We went on the softs and I think I tried to over-manage or over-think the situation so we should have gone a lot better in there really. At the end of the day's it's not so bad, so let's see what we can do this afternoon,” Evans noted.
“It's been a tricky morning. The first stage was quite slippery and the grip was constantly changing which I don't like so much. It was really inconsistent which makes it hard to know when to push and when to be careful,” Hirvonen added.
“Then on the Panzerplatte stages there was only one section that was damp so that wasn't enough to get the most out of the soft compounds. But we weren't the only ones to get caught out with that one and we'll continue to push and hopefully get it right this afternoon. We've made a few small changes to the set-up in service, so let's see what we can do.”
Mads Ostberg rounds out the top eight in his Citroen, with Hyundai debutant Bryan Bouffier and Ford privateer Martin Prokop ninth and tenth.
Dennis Kuipers is then in P11, with former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica now twelfth. The Pole slid into some stones in SS10 and damaged his front wheel, but the quickest time in SS7 earlier on was a boost of sorts.
“It was really nice to get a stage win [on SS7] this morning, but unfortunately we maybe didn't go with the optimal tyre choice for the Panzerplatte stages,” said Kubica.
“It's so difficult to predict what the weather is going to do. We went with the soft tyre, but it was almost completely dry. I was driving so carefully so as not to overheat them but I don't think it helped so much. A lot of teams took the same decision as us, so let's see what we can do this afternoon.”
In WRC2, it is all change, with Julien Maurin now top - although only just as Pontus Tidemand is only 0.4 seconds back in P2. Overnight WRC2 leader Bernardo Sousa conceded the lead to Tidemand in the first test this morning, and he then picked up a puncture in SS10 and lost over 3 minutes.
Rallye Deutschland now continues this afternoon with a repeat run through this morning's loop.
SS11, the 17.53km Stein & Wein 2 test, is scheduled to start at 14.31 hours local time [13.31 hours UK time].
Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 10 (Top 10):
1. Jari-Matti Latvala
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1hr 36m 43.3s
2. Kris Meeke
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 45.8s
3. Thierry Neuville
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 53.8s
4. Dani Sordo
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 55.1s
5. Andreas Mikkelsen
Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +01m 06.1s
6. Elfyn Evans
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 28.6s
7. Mikko Hirvonen
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 29.0s
8. Mads Ostberg
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +01m 32.7s
9. Bryan Bouffier
Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +02m 24.7s
10. Martin Prokop
Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02m 58.5s
11. Dennis Kuipers
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05m 09.6s
12. Robert Kubica
RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05m 56.9s
13. Yuriy Protasov
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06m 24.2s
14. Julien Maurin
Ford Fiesta R5 +06m 27.3s
15. Pontus Tidemand
Ford Fiesta R5 +06m 27.7s
16. Sam Moffett
Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06m 27.7s
WRC2 standings after Stage 10 (Top 3):
1. Julien Maurin
Ford Fiesta R5 1hr 43m 10.6s
2. Pontus Tidemand
Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 00.4s
3. Armin Kremer
Skoda Fabia S2000 +00m 52.6s
SS6. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Went off
SS8. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Crashed
*denotes re-started under Rally 2 on Saturday
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial