The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team followed its win in Finland with a second straight victory in the 2018 World Rally Championship last weekend in Germany.
Officially known as Rallye Deutschland, the ninth event of the calendar contained three rallies in one: twisting roads through the Mosel vineyards, the notoriously tough Baumholder military area, and the fast country lanes of Saarland. The differing characteristics of these roads and changeable weather conditions made car set-up and tyre choice difficult.
2018 Rallye Deutschland: day one
Rallye Deutschland kicked off positively. Following the morning’s shakedown, where the Yaris WRC set the first and second fastest times, the rally began with a super special stage in St Wendel, where Ott Tänak set the best time to claim the early lead.
Kaj Lindström (sporting director): “It is good to get the rally underway with the fastest time and no big issues. Earlier, we had a promising shakedown with the first and second best times. Of course, the results in shakedown never count for anything at the end of rally, but it is good to see that car is performing okay and that the drivers are all happy.
“As always on this rally, we will be watching the weather closely. Even at the start of this week, the forecasts showed no rain, but now it looks like there is a risk of rain tomorrow, which could make the vineyard stages very tricky for everybody.”
2018 Rallye Deutschland: day two
Tänak held a 12.3-second lead at the end of the first full day. Fresh from his recent win in Finland, Tänak was fastest on five of the six stages on what is the first asphalt event that the car has led this season.
Tommi Mäkinen (team principal): “It is absolutely brilliant to be in this position, with six fastest stage times out of seven so far. Ott seems to have absolute confidence with the car and is able to make it look very easy, even though it is not. This great performance on asphalt is the product of all the hard work that the whole team has done since the beginning of last season.
“I think that Jari-Matti and Esapekka also have a good feeling with the car. This can be a difficult rally to find confidence with all the different conditions, but they are in good positions going into tomorrow. Anything can happen on Panzerplatte: it is pretty rough in places but it is very fast and you have to push flat-out.”
2018 Rallye Deutschland: day three
Tänak continued to lead the rally with just three stages remaining, his advantage now standing at 43.7 seconds after enjoying a clean run through the day. Fellow Yaris WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala was third overall and in a close fight for second place, while Esapekka Lappi was not far behind in fifth.
Ott Tänak (driver car #8): “Obviously it has been another good day. This morning it wasn’t easy because I had to get used to driving on different types of road in this car for the first time, and I needed to push hard because it was a really close fight. In the afternoon my feeling was much better and I was enjoying it a lot.
“The changes we made during lunchtime service were a good step in the right direction and the car is really comfortable to drive. Now we have a big gap behind us and there are some nice stages tomorrow, so the most important thing will be just to enjoy it.”
2018 Rallye Deutschland: day four
The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team celebrates its second straight victory with a win in Germany – also the maiden win on asphalt for the Yaris WRC. As in Finland, the team achieved a double podium result, with Lappi finishing in third place to help Toyota climb to second in the manufacturers’ championship and within 13 points of the overall lead.
Ott Tänak: “This was definitely the hardest victory I have ever had. For the majority of the weekend it was a really close fight and I had to push so hard. On Friday in the vineyards I felt very comfortable with the car. On Saturday morning I did not feel so confident, but the team really improved the car in service.
“Today I just needed to keep it clean. I am really happy for the whole team: we were really strong this weekend. We are moving in the right direction in the championship but I am still taking it event by event. Now my focus is on Turkey and trying to be as well prepared as possible.”
2018 Rallye Deutschland: final result
|1||Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja||Toyota Yaris WRC||3h 03m 36.9s|
|2||Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+ 39.2s|
|3||Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm||Toyota Yaris WRC||+ 1m 00.9s|
|4||Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia||Ford Fiesta WRC||+ 1m 34.5s|
|5||Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula||Ford Fiesta WRC||+ 2m 02.9s|
|6||Andreas Mikkelson / Anders Jaeger||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+ 2m 13.8s|
|7||Craig Breen / Scott Martin||Citroen C3 WRC||+ 2m 39.1s|
|8||Marijan Griebel / Alexander Rath||Citroen DS3 WRC||+ 10m 41.2s|
|9||Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler||Skoda Fabia R5||+ 13m 12.8s|
|10||Kalle Rovanperra / Jonne Halttunen||Skoda Fabia R5||+ 13m 16.6s|
|Retired||Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila||Toyota Yaris WRC||N/A|
The tenth round of the 2018 World Rally Championship is Rally Turkey, which takes place on 13-16 September.