Sebastien Ogier says he is glad to see the stretch of gravel WRC rounds come to an end in Germany and feels he and co-driver Julien Ingrassia have a 'realistic chance of fighting for the win under our own stream' on the asphalt roads around Trier.
The defending World Rally Champion hasn't tasted victory in 2016 since Rally Sweden – a stretch of six rounds which have all been run on gravel – but still holds a 45-point advantage in the drivers' standings.
Ogier suffered his first non-points finish since Spain 2015 last time out in Finland but feels returning to asphalt gives him a fairer chance of battling for wins compared to gravel.
The French driver had been handicapped by being first on the road due to his championship standing and acted as a sweeper for his rivals behind him.
"I always look forward to the Rally Germany, but slightly more than usual this time around,” he said. “Finally, Julien and I have a realistic chance of fighting for the win under our own steam again after the difficult gravel rallies. Accordingly, I am highly motivated and very keen to repeat the success of last year [claimed victory in 2015].
“Rally Germany is also Volkswagen's home event and so the whole team wants to deliver a particularly good performance in front of the fans.”
With the weather forecast somewhat mixed for round nine of the 2016 campaign, Ogier has placed emphasis on any potential wet weather running as key stages to decide the finishing order in Germany.
“Testing in the run-up went really well. Making the change from gravel to asphalt was quick and without issue,” he said. “We had a mix of sunshine and a few showers, so we were able to try out the various set-up version for the Polo R WRC - and Michelin's new wet tyres. That could play a role since the stages are extremely tough in wet weather and errors are punished without mercy."