25 August 2013
Rallye Deutschland: Sordo sees off Neuville and claims first WRC win
“It's a great moment for me,” Sordo told the official WRC site. “Thierry was pushing so hard [in that last test]. He was a little slower than me at first but then he was faster so I needed to push harder. I was so nervous at the start but this win is something I've dreamed of for many years.”
Neuville meanwhile wasn't too disappointed to have to settle for second, his fourth podium in succession and a result that put him second outright in the Drivers' Championship.
“I feel we proved a lot again, even if we did ultimately just miss out on the win,” said the Qatar World Rally Team driver. “I decided we were going to go for it on the final stage, but coming out of the forest, I mistook one fast left-hand corner in the vineyards for another and we went off. By the time Nico [Gilsoul, my co-driver] announced the pace note, it was already too late. Luckily we were able to rejoin the road and make it to the finish.
“But the risk was worth it.”
Mikko Hirvonen took the final spot on the podium, his first rostrum since Rally de Portugal in April. The Finn ran fifth initially, gaining two places as the event went on, when Ogier and then Latvala stumbled. He ended up over 1.5 minutes off second and over 2.5 minutes off his team-mate.
The result sees Citroen close on Volkswagen in the Manufacturers', with the gap coming down from 55 points to 26.
Behind, Martin Prokop equalled his career-best result by taking fourth in his Jipocar Czech National Team-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC, albeit 5 minutes 24.7 seconds off Hirvonen: “A wonderful weekend – a really good result for us on tarmac, it is perfect,” Prokop noted. “I am very happy for the team and I want to thank all the Czech fans that turned out to support me.”
WRC2 winner Robert Kubica completed the top five, 12.9 seconds up on Elfyn Evans, his nearest class rival.
Latvala came in seventh, re-starting under the Rally 2 rules on Sunday, following his exit in SS12: “I have probably found the speed on tarmac, but I also have to learn other things now,” he stated.
Hayden Paddon was eighth in his Skoda Fabia S2000 – also securing third in WRC2 – with Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov rounding out the points' scorers. Ostberg had been on course for fifth, but was another runner caught out in SS12. Novikov went off too, but in the very first stage on Thursday.
Of the rest, Khalid Al-Qassimi, Yuriy Protasov, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Sepp Wiegand filled positions 11 through to 14, with WRC3 winner, Sebastien Chardonnet 15th, ahead of Keith Cronin and Sebastien Ogier.
After his off on Friday, Ogier had little to compete for, although he did claim the final Manufacturers' point for VW and took three bonus points for winning the Power Stage, 3.9 seconds up on Sordo. His lead in the Drivers' Championship has now been cut by 15 points, although he is still 75 points out front, with four events to go and a maximum 112 up for grabs.
In the JWRC, Pontus Tidemand took JWRC victory, 1m 47.5s up on Michael Burri. Yeray Lemes was third – although the Junior event did not include Sunday's final two tests.
Tagged as: Ford , Germany , Sordo , Dani Sordo , Citroën , Qatar , Rallye Deutschland , Neuville , Thierry Neuville , Fiesta RS WRC , Qatar World Rally Team
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