Ott Tänak sits at the top of a Toyota 1-2-3 heading into the final day of Rallye Deutschland, after the infamous Panzerplatte stage shattered the victory – and championship – hopes of his rivals Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier.
After midday service, the drivers tackled two loops on the Baumholder military area, consisting of the short “Arena Panzerplatte” stage (10.73km) and the 41.17 kilometre “Panzerplatte” test, with an 15 minute service at Bostalsee in-between.
Tänak and Neuville were separated by just five seconds heading into the afternoon, but disaster struck Neuville early in the first run through the long Panzerplatte stage, when he had to stop and change a tyre on his Hyundai, losing 1min26sec to Tänak.
Ogier meanwhile struggled for pace in his Citroën in the same stage and was passed by Tänak’s team-mates Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala, who both moved into podium places. But the disenchantment continued for Ogier on the repeat of Panzerplatte, when he also suffered a puncture, losing 1min26sec and dropping four places in the overall standings.
Meeke was fastest on Panzerplatte 2 to build a gap of 9.4 seconds between himself and Latvala, while Tänak ended the day with a lead of 32.4s over his British team-mate.
After starting the day in ninth, Dani Sordo finished in fourth as the lead Hyundai, in front of Neuville and Mikkelsen. Ogier dropped to eighth behind his team-mate Esapekka Lappi, with Gus Greensmith and Takamoto Katsuta rounding out the top 10.
Jan Kopecký leads the FIA WRC2 Pro category in his Škoda Fabia R5 Evo in 11th overall, while Fabian Kreim heads FIA WRC 2, ahead of fellow German Škoda driver Marijan Griebel.
2019 Rallye Deutschland – Unofficial Results after Section 7:
|1. Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2hr 27min 21.9sec|
|2. Kris Meeke (GBR) / Sebastian Marshall (GBR)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2hr 27min 54.3sec|
|3. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) / Mikka Anttila||Toyota Yaris WRC||2hr 28min 03.7sec|
|4. Dani Sordo (SPA) / Carlos Del Barrio (SPA)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2hr 28min 32.7sec|
|5. Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2hr 28min 57.1sec|
|6. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) / Anders Jaeger-Amland (NOR)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2hr 28min 59.2sec|
|7. Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN)||Citroën C3 WRC||2hr 29min 05.0sec|
|8. Sébastien Ogier (FRA) / Julien Ingrassia (FRA)||Citroën C3 WRC||2hr 29min 39.6sec|
|9. Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Elliott Edmondson (GBR)||Ford Fiesta WRC||2hr 33min 24.5sec|
|10. Takamoto Katsuta (JAP) / Daniel Barritt (GBR)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2hr 34min 19.3sec|