WRC Rallye Deutschland: Ogier slashes Mikkelsen’s lead

Andreas Mikkelsen completes SS7 of Rallye Deutschland still on top, albeit with his lead over team-mate Sebastien Ogier now down to just 0.2secs after he went straight on at a junction in Bosenberg 1; Thierry Neuville remains third, 10.9secs back
CLICK HERE for Rallye Deutschland leaderboard after SS7

Sebastien Ogier has cut Andreas Mikkelsen's Rallye Deutschland lead to just 0.2 seconds following Saturday's opening two stages, with the Norwegian making a key mistake in SS7.

Mikkelsen began the second day with a 4.3sec lead, and the quickest time in SS6, 1.5secs up on Ogier, saw him increase the gap.

However, in Bosenberg 1, Mikkelsen was only fifth quickest, 5.6secs off the top time posted by Ogier: "We went straight on at a junction and had to reverse,” Mikkelsen told the official WRC site. "We pushed hard after that to recover the time loss. That's a shame but we are still in the fight."

Mikkelsen's mistake was good news for Ogier, especially as the Frenchman had thought conditions would be drier, incorrectly going for two soft tyres and two hards. In contrast, Mikkelsen took five sets of the soft tyres.

"Not much drier here [than the previous stage, SS6] but we did a good job in tricky conditions. If Mikkelsen is slower then that's good news for me because he has the better tyres here," Ogier remarked before news of Mikkelsen's problem came in.

Behind, Thierry Neuville remains third in his Hyundai, although he has slipped further behind the battle at the front and is now 10.9secs off Ogier. The gap had been only 1.6secs last night.

Dani Sordo is next up in fourth in his i20 WRC, 5.7secs back, with DMACK WRT's Ott Tanak still in that lonely fifth, 40.6s shy of Sordo. Tanak in turn is 21.4secs up on Citroen DS 3 WRC runner Stephane Lefebvre with M-Sport's Mads Ostberg and Hayden Paddon seventh and eighth.

Pontus Tidemand holds ninth, with Esapekka Lappi tenth and now leading WRC2, after Armin Kremer lost almost 30secs after going straight on at a junction in Bosenberg 1 and having to reserve. Kremer now drops to second, 20.9secs the difference. Jan Kopecky is third in WRC2, 8.2secs up on Ghislain de Mevius, after the latter spun in SS6.

The event now continues with two runs through the short 2.87 km Arena Panzerplatte test, before competitors tackle the monster 40.80km Panzerplatte Lang 1 stage.
by Rob Wilkins

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