FIA RALLY NEWS 

COMING EVENT - 25th OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland (11-13 August 2006)


9th round out of 16 in the 2005 FIA World Rally Championship, 6th round out of ninth in the 2006 FIA Junior World Rally Championship

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
OMV ADAC RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND
Media FIA Pre-event Press Conference
12.08.2006

Present:
Aaron Burkart - FIA JWRC
Bernd Casier - FIA JWRC
Daniel Sordo - Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team
Marcus Grönholm - BP-Ford World Rally Team
Petter Solberg - Subaru World Rally Team
Aime Chatard - BF Goodrich

Welcome to the FIA pre-event press conference.

Q:
Aaron, your Citroën C2 has been specifically developed with asphalt in mind; what do you think your prospects are of standing on the podium at your home event? It’s also a key event for your sponsor OMV, who are also backing the rally. Does that create more pressure?

AB:
First of all, I am not sure whether the car was built for Tarmac. There are another four Citroëns in the field, so it will be hard. But, if we have a good day, why not the podium? The OMV involvement doesn’t give any additional pressure, but you have pressure on your own for any kind of rally.

Q:
Bernd, you’ve shown lots of good speed before but would you say that Rallye Deutschland is your best chance of the year? How similar are these roads to those back home in Belgium?

BC:
It is a rally that is similar to the Belgian stages. It is the only rally I did last year, but we broke down after the first stage. It is like Aaron said, you have to be lucky. In Belgium, you have a Flemish and a French part. Roads in the Flemish part are narrow with not much space, like we have tomorrow, whereas the stages in the military area are similar to those in the French part of Belgium.

Q:
Aaron, your season got off to a traumatic start. How difficult has it been for you and the team to carry on? What do you think that decision says about the strength of everybody involved?

AB:
In the end, it wasn’t that difficult. Every person around me told me to make my own choice and even the family (of Jörg Bastuck) encouraged me to carry on. We have a good team together… what shall I say more.

Q:
One of the things that even the WRC drivers, with four-wheel drive, complain about here is lack of grip. How much more difficult is it when you only have front-wheel drive in a Super 1600 car? And what if it rains; is it best to slow down completely or can you still push quite hard?

BC:
It is difficult to say as I only did one rally with four-wheel drive. With front-wheel drive, you have to drive properly. The WRC cars throw a lot of dirt on the track, so you have to drive carefully when you are running behind them. You must try to minimise sliding. All the Juniors are fighting very hard. You slow down a little bit when it is raining, but not too much.

Q:
One of the issues that the WRC Commission will be looking at soon is the cost of contesting the JWRC. Do you think that the formula as it currently stands is too expensive? How difficult is it to find a drive at this level?

AB:
This is a bit of a problem. The Championship is pretty expensive and for a private team like ours, it is difficult to get the amount together.

Q:
What do you think Bernd? Is there anything about the Championship that you would like to see improved? Do you think that there is too much technology on the cars or is it at the right level?

BC:
Everybody knows that rallying is very expensive and there are a lot of good drivers, but not everybody gets a drive. You are lucky when you do so, especially when you don’t have a manufacturer behind you.

Q:
Petter, it has been an eventful morning for you. Can you tell us what happened? How bad is the damage to your car and will you be able to make it to the start?

PS:
The team has worked hard the last few months and things looked very well this morning. Then, we tried something on the car and that didn’t work out. I had a lot of understeer, I hit the gravel and ran into a couple of trees, so not so good. I don’t know yet whether I can make it to the start. The team is working on it very hard, but it is difficult to tell yet what the situation will be. Too bad that such a thing happens on a shakedown. The last time this happened, I won the rally, but it is difficult to tell now.

Q:
Dani, welcome. This is the first of three events where you are confirmed as being nominated to score points for Kronos. Do you feel any extra responsibility or pressure? Do you think you will keep the seat in the second 2006-specification Xsara until the end of the year? Is your fellow Spaniard Xevi Pons annoyed that you are driving his car now!

DS:
The pressure is similar to the rallies I did before. I will try to do my best for the team as well as I can. It is my first year with a World Rally Car, so I still have to learn a lot. I don’t know whether I will keep the car. First of all, it is for three rallies and I will be trying hard. For Xevi, it is good as well, because now he has no pressure on him.

Q:
Marcus, welcome back. Did you have a good summer break? You won the last rally in Greece, does that feel like a long time ago? Does that win give you more confidence, even though the conditions here are completely different to those in Greece? You are still looking for your first win on ’normal’ asphalt; do you think you have a good chance of getting it here? If you can defeat Sébastien here, then surely that gives you a fantastic chance of winning the Championship?

MG:
The break was good and long. Not too much, but I had three weeks of holiday, the rest was testing etcetera. Greece feels like a long time ago, it was the beginning of June. Now, we start again. We have eight rallies to go, many things can happen and I will try to win as much as I can. Greece is not giving me much confidence here as this is a completely different rally. The forecast for tomorrow is rain, that is not what I want, but we start from zero and that is the situation for everybody. I think I can win here, but it is not easy. Seb has a really good record here. Three years ago, I was close, only three seconds behind him. I have the material to fight for the win. However, the gap in the points is too big and I don’t think about winning the title too much yet.

Q:
Welcome, Aime. Pirelli is pulling out at the end of this year. What is your point of view about this and is it something that BF Goodrich regrets? Does this move affect your plans at all? Subaru is currently running with Pirelli; do you expect to be supplying them as well next year?

AC:
Yes, it is a pity to see Pirelli go. If we are there, it is to fight, like the drivers and the car manufacturers are fighting together. It doesn’t affect our plans. When we started with BF Goodrich it was for three to five years, so we will carry on. We said that we don’t want to leave one team without tyres, so I think that we can manage to supply them all if necessary.

Q:
Petter, you had a tough first half of the season; how does that affect you? Subaru has been doing a lot of testing; which sort of improvements have you found on the car and will we see the result of them already here in Germany? Pirelli is pulling out of world rallying at the end of this year; how has this affected their work and the relationship with the team?

PS:
It has been hard for everybody but I think we are back again on the top level now though. There have been a lot of improvements and I hope that you can see it on the next rallies. There are still many things in the pipeline and it looks very promising. Pirelli are still pushing very hard, testing a lot of tyres and doing the same performance they have been doing all the time. All the team will try to get the best results possible and that goes for Pirelli, too.

Q:
The other news that emerged over the summer break was the fact that you have concluded a new three-year deal with Subaru. How much does this help your motivation? What do you think you can get out of the rest of this year?

PS:
The main reason for me to sign a new deal is the improvements we have been doing over the summer. I am very happy to be able to stay with Subaru. It looks very promising and it is going to be a good future together.

Q:
Dani, what are your realistic expectations here? On the last two asphalt rallies, in Spain and France, you finished second and third; is the podium a realistic possibility again here? Would you even think that you might be in a position to win? What are the main differences between the newer and older car? Is there a big difference on this event?

DS:
This rally is special, it is difficult. Of course, I will try to score a podium finish, but the problem is the weather. I am not in a position to win the rally, the podium is my main goal. The difference from last year’s car to this year’s is not really big. Maybe the difference between mechanical and active differentials can be seen more on gravel.

Q:
From what you have seen on the recce Marcus, how tough do you think this rally is going to be this year? Germany is quite different from the other asphalt events on the calendar, do you enjoy it? The conditions here are rarely consistent so will you be able to attack from the start, or will there be some days which suit you more than others? Ford has done a lot of testing as well; how different is this asphalt Focus to the one you drove in Spain and France?

MG:
During the recce it was fine. Baumholder was a bit dirty, so it will be slippery when it is raining. I can’t tell which is my favourite leg. The third one is nice, the second day is difficult at Baumholder, but there, you may be able to make some difference. The car is quite the same, apart from a few small changes. We haven’t done any big steps.

Q:
How challenging is Rallye Deutschland for a tyre manufacturer? With three distinctly different legs, what sort of obstacles do you have to overcome in order to ensure consist performance throughout the duration of the rally? A key factor of this event has always been the weather. How do you forecast the weather here and how accurate is the information you receive?

AC:
After Monte Carlo, this is the most difficult rally for tyre selection as the weather can change from dry to humid and wet and you have to choose the tyres three hours in advance. If you go wrong, you have to run 60 kilometres with the wrong tyres. We have specialists from France to help us with the selection, they are professionals, but in this area, it is very difficult to make a good forecast.

Questions from the floor:

Martin Kasten, freelance
Q:
Petter, you had a hard accident at Baumholder last year or two years ago. Does this have any effect on your driving now?

PS:
I try to forget as quickly as possible. I don’t think about it. We talked about it after it happened and that was it.

Martin Kasten, freelance
Q:
Marcus, I have the impression that you prefer the rally in the dry. Is that right?

MG:
Yes, it is much better to drive in the dry. It is easier to choose your tyres and if it is wet, it is really difficult.

Rally Preview

Following a two-month summer break, the WRC returns to competitive action on this week's Rallye Deutschland (10 - 13 August). The German round of the FIA World Rally Championship marks the beginning of the second half of the 16-round series, but also brings the asphalt sector of the campaign to a close as the rally is the last of four sealed surface events.

Team Previews:

Manufacturer 1: Kronos Total Citroen World Rally Team / Citroën Xsara WRC
1 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (F/MC)
2 Daniel Sordo / Marc Marti (E)
15 Xavier Pons / Carlos del Barrio (E)

For Kronos Racing, this event represents the year's shortest journey. Thelories transporting the three Citroëns have less than three hundred kilometres to cover between Naninne and the single service park of Bostalsee. As usual, the two 2006 passive differentials Xsaras are those entitled to score 'Manufacturers' points, while the third one keeps its 2005 specifications. The news on this event come from the fact team-mates Dani Sordo/Marc Marti and Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio have swapped roles in theManufacturers points' quest: Dani and Marc inherit the number 2 Xsara while Xevi and Carlos now play the role of the free-riders.

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "The rally route has remained quite stable over the years since it first counted for the World championship. In consequence, we determine our set-up on the Xsara WRC about the same way from one year to another. We fine-tune it progressively with a first sequence in the Vosges region, similar to the Saarland stages, and with a German test with typical sections of the Mosel vineyards. And we still found some interesting things! This time the pre-event tests were a bit special : first because it was the last one of the Xsara WRC on tarmac and secondly because we also had the C4 with us. We had a great time."

Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: No quote available at time of going to press.

Xavier Pons/Carlos Del Barrio: "Usually the Spaniards perform quite well in Germany. Our 'asphalt' background and the good level of the Spanish championship give us a good basis to tackle this tricky terrain. In 2004, we achieved a good result considering the tight fight amongst several good drivers in the 'Production' category. In 2005, I competed for the first time on tarmac with the Xsara in 'Deutschland'. We improved our pace throughout the event without making mistakes."

Manufacturer 1: BP- Ford World Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC06
3 Marcus Grönholm / Timo Rautiainen (FIN)
4 Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)

This ninth round can be as unpredictable and demanding as January's opening asphalt encounter in Monte Carlo, which brought a debut victory for Grönholm in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. The roads could not be more different than the French Alpine mountain passes, but the changing nature of the speed tests and the ever-present threat of rain in the region could make conditions tricky for the Finn and fellow countryman Hirvonen.

Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen: "I've been close to winning previously. It won't be easy because Loeb has won four times in Germany and he is good in the slippery conditions that we often find there. It would be good to beat him and shake him up a little. The Focus RS is good enough and now it is up to the driver. We tested in two locations, on Baumholder and in the vineyards, and I have good experience from that."

Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "I think there are many rallies in the second half of the season where I can fight for a podium. BP-Ford is second and still has a chance of the manufacturers' title so I need to score as many points as possible and that will be my target for the rest of the year. I have a chance of a top three in Germany but it won't be easy."

Manufacturer 1: Subaru World Rally Team / Subaru Impreza WRC 2006
5 Petter Solberg / Philip Mills (N/GB)
6 Stephane Sarrazin / Stéphane Prevot (F/B)
16 Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall (AUS)

Petter Solberg (co-driven by Phil Mills) and Stephane Sarrazin (co-driven by Stephane Prevot) will drive a Subaru Impreza WRC2006 each, while Chris Atkinson (co-driven by Glenn Macneall) will drive a Subaru Australia-entered Impreza WRC2005. Petter Solberg has competed in Germany four times before. Last year the Norwegian achieved his highest finish in the event with seventh overall. Stephane Sarrazin made his WRC debut in Germany in 2004 at the wheel of a privately-entered Subaru Impreza and finished a remarkable ninth. Last year the Frenchman claimed eighth position. 

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: 'This year we've not had such good results on asphalt so the most important thing in Germany will be to progress from our previous form. We had two days of testing in Germany at the end of July and we did find some improvements, which will be very important for us. I do enjoy the rally in itself, despite not having such a great history in the event. It's a reasonably difficult rally for a driver as each Leg has a different character with a different type of asphalt and all of the roads are very dirty and slippery. Saturday's military stages are particularly tough.'

Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: 'I made my WRC debut in Rally Germany 2004 so I've got a good feeling about this event. It's a great tarmac event as grip is low, the surface is slippery and the stages are difficult so you've really got to concentrate. I particularly enjoy the second day's Baumholder roads as they're very challenging to drive. Last year we were very quick and it would be a good result if we could finish in the top five this year.'

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: 'Germany was my first-ever asphalt event in 2005, but this year I'm going back there with a lot more experience. I've got another two Tour de Corse and Rally Catalunyas under my belt, plus Monte Carlo and Ireland. Competing in the Nurburg 24 hours helped too - over a 25km lap, you have lots of opportunity to get the right racing line and think about the set-up. Unfortunately, I've not had an opportunity to do a tarmac test before Germany this year so instead I've been concentrating on fitness, training and relaxing. Our goal for Germany has got to be a good finish, hopefully in the points.'

Manufacturer 2: OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team / Peugeot 307 WRC
7 Manfred Stohl / Ilka Minor (A)

On Monday the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team got into the mood for the OMV ADAC Rallye, the ninth run to the FIA World Rally Championship. 120 kilometres of testing were completed in the vinyards near the special stage "Bosenberg". Afterwards the OMV Team Stohl/Minor was full of confidence. From Friday on the new insights will be put to the test. And the 34-year-old Austrian can focus completely on the driver WRC-ranking since the OMV Peugeot Norway WRT will only compete with one car in Germany and therefore cannot score in the manufacture ranking.

Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "During this season I've already proven that I can score on tarmac. And last year in Germany we were extremely close to Sebastien Loeb on several special stages. Furthermore, the fight will be even tighter if rain should set in."

Manufacturer 2: Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC04
9 Matthew Wilson / Michael Orr (GB)
10 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (FIN)

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team this weekend tackles OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland as the first event back in action since the BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally at the start of June and driver Matthew Wilson can't wait to get back behind the wheel of his Ford Focus RS WRC05 on the diverse tarmac challenge that the German event presents.

Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr: "It's one of the most difficult rallies of the year and I'm glad I came out in July with the BP Ford World Rally Team when they tested as I spent time sat next to Marcus Gronholm. I did the recce for the event last year as well and it's very challenging with the vineyards and the military roads. There are a lot of junctions and a lot of surface changes and I don't want to think what happens if you hit a hinkelstein!"

Jari Mati Latvala says:"I think that this can be a difficult rally because of the weather. I've done it three times before and I like it a lot, but it needs a lot of concentration. You have to be careful as the roads change a lot. On the first and third days you can cut the corners a lot which means there can be a lot of gravel and mud on the road which makes it tricky if it's wet. On the military roads you cannot cut so much, especially with the hinkelstein. The grip is not so good on the military roads, it feels more like a Finnish gravel rally."

Manufacturer 2: Red Bull Skoda Team / Skoda Fabia WRC05
11 Mattias Ekström / Jonas Andersson (S)
12 Andreas Aigner / Timo Timo Gottschalk (A/D)

Red Bull Skoda can look forward to the final four WRC events of this season rather optimistically. The team has prepared very thoroughly for the OMV ADAC Rally Germany, testing very extensively on tarmac in Austria and in Germany. The experience gained in these tests should make it possible to increase the points tally in the World Rally Championship.

Mattias Ekstrom/Jonas Andersson: "I'm well prepared after testing, I now feel comfortable with the car. I'll try to drive fast and make as few mistakes as possible. Then a fair result should be achievable. A WRC point would obviously be a dream."

Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "It's the first rally I already know. This certainly won't be a disadvantage. Since I'm very ambitious I'd like to reduce the gap to the front runners to one second per kilometre. This will be my third tarmac event in a WRC. For me it's quite surprising that I've been more successful on this surface than on gravel. In Germany I prefer the narrow passages through the vineyards to, say, the 'Panzerplatte' which is very difficult to master."

Event Timetable

Leg 1. Friday August 11th. 508.95 km including 134.72 km divided in 8 SS (4 different).
Start from Bostalsee at 8:30. SS1 'Ruwertal/Fell 1' (20.04 km) - SS2 'Dhrontal 1'
(12.61 km) - SS3 'Grafschaft Veldenz 1' (17.73 km) - SS4 'Moselwein 1' (16.98 km) -
Regroup Bostalsee (12:56/10 min) - Service A (13:06/30 min) - SS5 'Ruwertal/Fell 2' - SS6
'Dhrontal 2' - SS7 'Grafschaft Veldenz 2' - SS8 'Moselwein 2' - Service B (18:10/flexiservice
45 min) - Cars enter parc ferme (Trier Viehmarkt) at 20:15.

Leg 2. Saturday August 12th. 531.20 km including 148.64 km divided in 7 SS. Start
Trier Viehmarkt at 7:00. Service C (7:55/10 min) - SS9 'Bosenberg 1' (22.52 km) - SS10
'Panzerplatte 1' (30.66 km) - Regroup (10:44/10 min) - Service D (10:54/30 min) - SS11
'Erzweiler 1' (18.22 km) - SS12 'Panzerplatte 2' - Regroup (13:55/10 min) - Service E
(14:05/30 min) - SS13 'Erzweiler 2' - SS14 'Bosenberg 2'- SS15 'St Wendel 1' super special
stage (5.84 km) - Service F (18:02/flexi-service 45 min). Cars enter parc ferme (Trier
Viehmarkt), at 20:07.

Leg 3. Sunday August 13th. 260.33 km including 68.19 divided in 4 SS. Start in Trier
Viehmarkt at 7:00. Service C (7:55/10 min) - SS16 'Freisen/Westrich 1' (19.07 km) - SS17
'Birkenfelder Land 1' (13.68 km) - SS18 'St Wendeler Land' (16.37 km) -- SS19
'Freisen/Westrich 2' - Finish of the rally podium in Porta Nigra in Trier from 12:24.

Event Statistics

. Created in 1982, a WRC qualifying round since 2002 and renamed the OMV ADAC Rallye
Deutschland in 2004, the German event continues to be based in Trier.
. The total length of the 5th World edition of the 'Deutschland' 1,300.48 km, including
351.55 km divided into 19 stages (11 different).
. Changes: a completely new stage will be run (Grafschaft Veldenz, SS3/7). Two will be
completed in the reversed direction compared to 2005 (Moselwein, SS4/8 and St Wendel,
SS15). The others either remain strictly identical or will be slightly modified on some short
sections.
. The Porta Nigra, the monument built by the Romans in the 4th Century BC, will again
serve as backdrop for the start ceremony (Thursday August 10th, 20:00) and for the
podium ceremony (Sunday August 13th, 12:24).
. As in previous years, the Bostalsee Leisure Centre hosts the single service park, as
well as the actual start. However: the parc ferme after Leg 1 (Friday evening) and Leg 2
(Saturday evening) will be in Trier (Viehmarkt) as well as the actual finish in Porta Nigra.
. Recce (two passes through each stage at 90 km/h max) is scheduled for Tuesday August
8th (8:30 until 20:00) and Wednesday August 9th (08:00 until 16:00).
. Shakedown (Thursday August 10th, 08:00 until 12:00) uses the same 3.17km stage
employed since 2003 which runs between the villages of Sötern and Bosen, near the
Bostalsee service park.
. The OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland is paired to the Neste Finland Rally planned the
following week of the German event. Chassis and engine are also paired and must be
used in Finland as well.
. Tyres: a maximum of two tread patterns are authorised. The barcode references of the
tyres that make up individual driver quotas (a maximum of 70, of which 45 may be used
during the event) had to be registered by August 7th.
. Each driver may have a safety crew which is authorised to cover each stage once in
accordance with a timetable specified by the Race Direction.

Leading positions after the first day of the rally:

1. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen Xsara 1hr 20min 35.0sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 1hr 21min 17.7sec
3. T Gardemeister/J Honkanen FIN Citroen Xsara 1hr 22min 41.0sec
4. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 22min 46.4sec
5. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 1hr 22min 58.1sec
6. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 1hr 23min 04.4sec
7. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 23min 23.6sec
8. A Aigner/K Wicha A Skoda Fabia 1hr 23min 30.5sec
9. C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 1hr 23min 45.7sec
10 S Sarrazin/S Prévot F Subaru Impreza 1hr 24min 18.6sec

Leg 1 News

At the end of the opening leg of the OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Sébastien Loeb heads the leaderboard, looking in the same commanding form that has seen him win the last four consecutive FIA World Rally Championship events hosted in the country. Underlining the speed of the Kronos-run Citroën Xsara, 23-year-old team-mate Daniel Sordo holds second, the Spaniard nominated to score points for a team for the first time in his career. Rallye Deutschland, the ninth round, marks the start of the second half of the 16-round FIA World Rally Championship, and is probably one of the trickiest and most unpredictable. It is characterised by three very distinctive and different days of Tarmac competition, and the weather invariably plays an active role in the outcome. Torrential overnight rain in the Mosel region typically added to today’s challenge and simply keeping the car on the road proved a task.

Frenchman Loeb took the advantage from the outset, and the challenge has only come from Sordo as the pair traded fastest times. Loeb ultimately took five of the victories with Sordo claiming three, and the team-mates have enjoyed a trouble-free day to arrive at the overnight halt split by 42.7 seconds. Marcus Grönholm looked set to overnight in third in the lead Ford Focus, but the Finn then lost time caught out in pouring rain this afternoon. Grönholm - who has never tested in the wet on asphalt in the Focus - struggled to match the pace of the Citroëns and a combination of the wrong tyres, time lost off the road and rain see him fourth overall. In contrast, fellow Finn Toni Gardemeister has had a good day, moving from an early ninth to third overall, giving the Citroën Xsara a clean sweep of the current podium positions. Petter Solberg will have been relieved to have taken the start this morning after crashing his Subaru Impreza during yesterday’s final preparations. He overnights in fifth after a massive job to re-prepare the car.

Team News:

Manufacturer 1: Kronos Total Citroen World Rally Team / Citroën Xsara WRC
1 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (F/MC)
2 Daniel Sordo / Marc Marti (E)
15 Xavier Pons / Carlos del Barrio (E)

At the end of leg one through the vineyards of the Mosel, Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti return to Trier at the head of the field. The two Kronos Total Citroen WRT Xsaras are on fighting form for tomorrow's battle through the Baumholder military ranges. Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio were less happy, coming home tonight in 11th place.

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "We had some good information and made the right choices : a fantastic job from everyone in the team. Dani has driven very well, but we've managed to pull out a gap.Nonetheless, we are going to remain concentrated in order not to make the slightest mistake tomorrow - either at the wheel or in our tyre choice

Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: "The team has given me a fantastic car - a Xsara that is easy to drive and gave me confidence even in the tricky conditions that we encountered. Seb is in his rightful place : he is the quickest here. But my second place makes me very happy : the team asked me to try and score the maximum possible number of points. I am going to do everything I can in order to try and achieve that goal."

Xavier Pons/Carlos Del Barrio: "We got off to a good start on the right tyres. But our 'off' on SS4 interrupted the flow a bit. On the second loop, we decided to take a different tyre choice to our team mates and opted for intermediates. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take advantage of them during the downpour on SS7 and in the dry conditions of SS8. Tomorrow we have just one aim in mind: getting back up the leaderboard ! »

Manufacturer 1: BP- Ford World Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC06
3 Marcus Grönholm / Timo Rautiainen (FIN)
4 Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)

BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen ended the opening leg of Rallye Deutschland in fourth after a day dominated by tyre choice in the inconsistent weather. Their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car lies just 5.4sec from a top three placing with two days remaining of this ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen are seventh in a similar Focus RS.

Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen: "The rain this afternoon was incredible. The forecast said it would be dry after lunch so I chose hard, dry weather tyres and I couldn't do anything apart from try to stay on the road. I took it easy in the rain but found it hard to get my confidence and rhythm back when it stopped. It's difficult to choose tyres when the weather changes so quickly and we made a mistake this afternoon. But there are still many kilometres remaining and tomorrow's stages won't be easy for anyone so we will see what happens then."

Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "Today was unreal and I hate this weather. The grip changed all the time and I'm just not used to these conditions with this car. My day was typified by stage seven. Five minutes before I started it was dry and sunny. It poured with rain as I started the stage and then a few hundred metres after the finish the roads were dry again! Hard tyres in heavy rain just don't work and it shows the importance of getting the tyre choice right. I hope the weather will be better tomorrow because if it is as wet as it has been today, then the stages will be incredibly slippery."

Manufacturer 1: Subaru World Rally Team / Subaru Impreza WRC 2006
5 Petter Solberg / Philip Mills (N/GB)
6 Stephane Sarrazin / Stéphane Prevot (F/B)
16 Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall (AUS)

Petter Solberg leads the Subaru challenge after today's first Leg of Rally Germany. The Norwegian lies fifth overall thanks largely to the team's technicians who worked through the night to repair his car after he crashed at the pre-event shakedown test. The Norwegian left service this morning in a near-immaculate car that performed faultlessly throughout the day. Chris Atkinson's confidence on wet asphalt increased throughout the Leg and the Australian ended the day in ninth place. Stephane Sarrazin struggled with wildly changing weather conditions that never seemed to suit his tyres. He finished the Leg tenth.

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: "I started this morning just happy to be able to drive at all, but in fact the day has been pretty good. The rain is the main thing; some drivers have been extremely fortunate with the way it fell, some of us have not! I feel that we have done a good progression with the car, but obviously our tyre choices let us down and we weren't able to gather much information from the last three stages as the rain just poured down.Tomorrow I'll try hard and do what I can. I think a podium finish is possible; we just have to get the tyre choices right."

Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: "Not great.This morning I had wet tyres for roads that turned out to be dry, and this afternoon a slick tyre for roads that were mainly wet. Unfortunately, the wild weather meant I had the wrong tyre all of the time. My worst moment was on SS7, I spun and lost about 20 seconds, the road was fully wet and on the slick tyre it was unbelievably slippery.Tomorrow, my wish is that I have the right tyres for the right conditions!"

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "Not a bad day.I had a reasonable tyre call this afternoon but unfortunately we still got caught out a bit by the weather. On the afternoon loop we were at the back of the running order and it absolutely poured down.We lost some time there, and even through we were better that everyone around us, the guys with a clean run were much faster. But we're ninth now, and not too far away from sixth really, we've been competitive with our team mates and that's what we wanted to do."

Manufacturer 2: OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team / Peugeot 307 WRC
7 Manfred Stohl / Ilka Minor (A)

Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor have delivered their masterpiece on the first day of the OMV ADAC Rallye. While, in previous years, they had scarce chances for a top rank after the first stages of the event, the fifth edition of the OMV ADAC Rallye has turned the tables. After eight of 19 special stages, they hold the splendid 6th place. Even more of an achievement, since the 34 year old Austrian was punished by fate. Twice he went for the wrong tyre choice.

Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "The new parts have done a great job. Bozian Racing has prepared a perfect Peugeot 307 WRC. I can rely on my car doing what I want it to do. Today we have seen, that there is much to be gained. With the exemption of Loeb and Sordo, all others are within fighting distance."

Manufacturer 2: Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC04
9 Matthew Wilson / Michael Orr (GB)
10 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (FIN)

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team endured a trying first day to OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland with treacherous wet weather conditions making the Mosel vineyard stages a virtual ice rink at times and tyre choice all the more crucial.

Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr: "It was an unbelievable day, very difficult. The first stage was so slippery as it was very wet and there was gravel kicked out on the stage from the cars in front, making it very tricky. The next two stages were difficult as they are under trees and it's difficult to know where was wet at that point and where had dried out. Then in the fourth stage a turbo pipe came apart after we landed coming up to a left hander about 2km into the stage so we couldn't go through at full pace."

Jari Mati Latvala says: "I was driving at a safe speed, it was very slippery so I was being quite sensible. It was a fast downhill section and I braked early but at the end of the braking zone it was like ice and we went straight on into the barrier. It was the same section where Marcus, Mikko and Gareth McHale hit the barrier but they managed to grab the handbrake in time and hit the back of their cars. We went straight on and hit the front and were stranded under the barrier. The damage is not so bad and we are both fine as the speed was not that high, but although the damage is not so bad the car has to be all ready for Finland so we will have to see what happens. It is the most important rally for me and to have a problem so early is not good. There is something not right in my head perhaps."

Manufacturer 2: Red Bull Skoda Team / Skoda Fabia WRC05
11 Mattias Ekström / Jonas Andersson (S)
12 Andreas Aigner / Timo Timo Gottschalk (A/D)

In the morning of the first day, a strong upward trend for Red Bull Skoda was already beginning to show compared to the past rallies. After four stages, Andreas Aigner was seventh and Mattias Ekstrom fifteenth. In the afternoon, Andreas Aigner even managed a fifth-best time on SS5, subsequently he finished in eleventh, tenth and seventh. Overall this adds up to P8:

Mattias Ekstrom/Jonas Andersson: It was incredibly difficult to drive. The very changeable track conditions caused a lot of hairy situations. I only get used to the circumstances slowly, but I'll continue to stand by my policy tomorrow - 'learning by doing'."

Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "This has been the best day in my rally career so far. The right tyre choice throughout and the experience gained in extensive testing helped me a lot. Now I've plenty of self-confidence for tomorrow, I'll go confidently into the tough 'Panzerplatte' stages."

Leading positions after the second day of the rally:

1. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen Xsara 2hr 47min 53.5sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 2hr 48min 27.8sec
3. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 50min 07.6sec
4. T Gardemeister/J Honkanen FIN Citroen Xsara 2hr 50min 33.3sec
5. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 50min 49.9sec
6. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 2hr 51min 13.5sec
7. A Aigner/K Wicha A Skoda Fabia 2hr 52min 35.6sec
8. S Sarrazin/S Prévot F Subaru Impreza 2hr 52min 48.2sec
9. J Kopecky/F Schovanek CZ Skoda Fabia 2hr 53min 05.2sec
10 C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 2hr 53min 16.6sec

Driver's comments after Leg 2

Leg 2 News

The second and longest leg of the OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland has been a much more open affair with no fewer than five different crews setting fastest times over the seven stages run in the Saarland region and on the Baumholder military roads. Sébastien Loeb has held on to his overnight lead, but Kronos Citroën team-mate Daniel Sordo has closed the gap to the World Champion during today’s 148 kilometres of competition. Dry conditions should have simplified tyre choices, however damp, slippery roads and a lack of predicted rainfall still caught out many of the crews. In contrast to yesterday - when Loeb won five of the eight stages - the Championship leader claimed just one today during another trouble-free run. However, with over two minutes in hand to third-placed Marcus Grönholm, Loeb’s 34.3 second lead over Sordo looks sufficient to see him claim his fifth consecutive Rallye Deutschland win.

Twenty-three year old Sordo, nominated to score manufacturer points for the first time in his career, has soaked up any pressure and is more than 90 seconds ahead of the vastly-experienced former World Champion, Marcus Grönholm. After a difficult day in the wet yesterday, the Ford driver regained his confidence on the dry roads and powered past Toni Gardemeister to re-claim third with just four stages remaining tomorrow. Team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was also on the pace, despite a serious vibration on the Focus this afternoon, the Finn winning one stage and climbing from an overnight seventh to fifth. Aside from Grönholm, Sordo, Hirvonen and Loeb, Škoda driver Jan Kopecky was the fifth driver to claim stage wins.

After crashing heavily the day before the start, Subaru’s Petter Solberg suffered yet more disappointment today when he was forced to retire with engine failure; his fifth non-points scoring finish of the season.

Team News:

Manufacturer 1: Kronos Total Citroen World Rally Team / Citroën Xsara WRC
1 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (F/MC)
2 Daniel Sordo / Marc Marti (E)
15 Xavier Pons / Carlos del Barrio (E)

At the end of leg two, run largely through the Baumholder military ranges, Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti have a firm grip on first and second places. Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio were forced to retire after SS12 with a hydraulic problem. They will restart tomorrow morning under the 'superally' regulations.

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: « Dani was very quick this morning in tricky conditions. This afternoon we were thinking more about the championships. Maintaining our positions would be extremely positive both for Kronos and ourselves, before we go to face Marcus Grönholm on his home territory in Finland. We have to be
extremely careful on the final leg now, where the weather could make life very complicated. »

Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: «We just drove calmly. I really hope I can seal this second place tomorrow. A result like that would be fantastic for me and would fulfil exactly what the team asked. »

Xavier Pons/Carlos Del Barrio: «Tomorrow we will start again in order to try and finish this rally on a positive note by setting some quick times. »

Manufacturer 1: BP- Ford World Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC06
3 Marcus Grönholm / Timo Rautiainen (FIN)
4 Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)

BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen won two speed tests as they climbed to third during the second leg of Rallye Deutschland today. Their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car excelled on the mainly dry asphalt roads of south-west Germany as the Finns chase their fourth podium finish in the five-year history of the rally. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen were also in winning form on this ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. They claimed one special stage victory as they moved into fifth in their similar BP Ultimate and Castrol-branded Focus RS.

Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen: "We swapped the settings back to those we used on the pre-event test, which was dry, and the car felt good. It's just in the wet that I'm struggling because I don't have the confidence. I need to practise driving in the wet to find the right set-up for this car, but there hasn't been much rain this summer to do that. It has been so much better in the dry today. Slick tyres in the rain are just not for me.

Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "I will try to catch Toni tomorrow but the key factor will again be tyres and everyone will be nervous. I'm not sure I can catch him if we both make the same tyre choice because there are not enough kilometres remaining but if we take different options then it's possible,"

Manufacturer 1: Subaru World Rally Team / Subaru Impreza WRC 2006
5 Petter Solberg / Philip Mills (N/GB)
6 Stephane Sarrazin / Stéphane Prevot (F/B)
16 Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall (AUS)

At the end of the second Leg of competition in Germany, Subaru's Stephane Sarrazin holds eighth place overall and leads the Subaru World Rally Team's challenge. The Frenchman moved up two places on the leaderboard during the day and set the third-fastest time on the Leg's final special stage.Chris Atkinson made steady progress through the notoriously difficult Baumholder stages to end the day tenth overall. After an encouraging performance on Leg one, Petter Solberg's Rallye Deutschland came to a premature end in the first stage today when an engine problem forced his retirement.

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: "Things started well today, but without any warning, when we were flat out in sixth gear on SS9, the engine made some pretty bad noises, stopped and that was it. There are still some positives to take from this rally though. We have made some good improvements with the car and when we had the right tyre for the conditions we were quick. I think in general we have taken a good step forward over the summer.We're planning for Finland now.It's a rally that I like a lot and I think it will be a very interesting event this year."

Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: "Today has been better than yesterday.I've had a trouble-free run and I'm here with the car in one piece. This morning we made a mistake with the tyre - we thought it would be wet but it was dry.In those circumstances it was difficult to push as hard as we wanted.But in the afternoon we had a more suitable tyre, increased the pace and set better times."

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "Overall the day has been good.It's a shame we gave away some time on the first stage, when we didn't have such a good feeling in the car, but things improved steadily after that. The Baumholder stage was pretty tough, the surface was loose in places and it's hard to judge the grip levels - especially on slicks.Skating along the road in fifth gear, centimetres from those Hinkelsteins is not ideal! But on the last stage out in the fields (SS14) we did a pretty good time. Tomorrow we'll do what we can, I'm looking forward to the smoother roads of Leg three; they should suit us better."

Manufacturer 2: OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team / Peugeot 307 WRC
7 Manfred Stohl / Ilka Minor (A)

Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor are pleased with the second day of the OMV ADAC Rallye. For a short time even in fifth place the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team was then overtaken by Mikko Hirvonen. 6th place remains the best intermediate place at the OMV ADAC Rallye nevertheless. The 34-year-old Austrian is determined to attack once more on Sunday.

Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: Stohl didn't face many problems on Saturday. Only at the "Panzerplatte" he had to switch from wheel switch to manual shift after 15 of 30 kilometres. The loss of time was minimal. The real problem presented itself at the regrouping before entering the service area, when the clutch of the Peugeot 307 WRC failed. Stohl/Minor did a makeshift repair of the hydraulic line and finally were able to make it to the service area. There the clutch was exchanged. Stohl: "My heart skipped a beat. Under normal circumstances you can't do a makeshift repair on these cars. We were lucky to manage it." In the afternoon, events were repeating themselves. The car wouldn't start at the regrouping. It was pushed through the time control at the last possible moment. Soon thereafter the ignition worked once again. After finishing the OMV circuit in St. Wendel in 4th place, the OMV Duo Stohl/Minor finished the second day in 6th place.

Manufacturer 2: Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC04
9 Matthew Wilson / Michael Orr (GB)
10 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (FIN)

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team vaulted up the order in the second day of OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland with a dry day's running in the challenging military ranges enabling Matthew Wilson to jump up the leaderboard by 17 places through the course of the event's second leg to home in for a top ten placing in the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr: "It gelled better today and I had a good feeling for the stages as we had consistency, we're going alright in the car. We did nothing silly today as we just wanted a good clean run. We had fun in the Super Special as there were lots of British flags so we were fully sideways the whole way round. It wasn't fast but it was certainly spectacular."

Jari Mati Latvala/Miikka Anttila: "The aim now is to get to the end as we cannot have a good result because of Friday. In stage 13 we had a problem at one corner where we came down hard and the car stopped. We got out to check the car but there wasn't anything wrong so we got back in and started up to finish the stage with no more problems The car is good, the set-up is good the only thing we need to improve for the rest of the stages today is the driving."

Manufacturer 2: Red Bull Skoda Team / Skoda Fabia WRC05
11 Mattias Ekström / Jonas Andersson (S)
12 Andreas Aigner / Timo Timo Gottschalk (A/D)

The second day of the OMV ADAC Rally in Germany was a rough ordeal for drivers and cars. The Baumholder stages including the 'Panzerplatte' attracted multitudes of spectators, who were enthralled by the performances of rallying's best.

Mattias Ekstrom/Jonas Andersson: The Swede broke the upper part of a damper on SS12, although this was later fixed in time during service: "Afterwards the right front drive shaft broke on the road section to SS13. We picked up 1:30 minutes of penalty time because we arrived late at the following time control. Obviously we lost even more time because of the mechanical problem itself, we had to complete three more stages without service. Nevertheless we'll try and improve our current position."

Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "Of course we constantly felt the pressure from behind. Additionally we had three tyre failures where even the mousse leaked, and then we lost another 15 seconds when I stalled the engine in a corner. I just hope that I can keep Sarrazin, Kopecky and Atkinson at bay tomorrow."

Final positions after the third day of the rally:

1. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen Xsara 3hr 28min 34.1sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 3hr 29min 07.9sec
3. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 30min 53.3sec
4. T Gardemeister/J Honkanen FIN Citroen Xsara 3hr 31min 07.9sec
5. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 3hr 33min 00.0sec
6. A Aigner/K Wicha A Skoda Fabia 3hr 34min 16.7sec
7. J Kopecky/F Schovanek CZ Skoda Fabia 3hr 34min 19.9sec
8. C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 3hr 35min 59.1sec
9. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 36min 59.8sec
10 G MacHale/G Nagle IRL Ford Focus RS 3hr 41min 30.2sec

Driver's comments after Leg 3

Leg 3 News

The Citroën Xsara crew of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena won the OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland today, notching up their sixth win of the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship season. It is also their fifth consecutive victory in Germany’s round of the series and Loeb now equals the record of 26 world rally victories currently held by Spaniard Carlos Sainz. Daniel Sordo added to the team’s success by claiming second overall in his first event nominated to score points in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Maximum points for Loeb see the Frenchman further extend his lead over Marcus Grönholm in the Drivers’ Championship, while Sordo’s points consolidate his third position. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, maximum points for the Kronos Citroën World Rally Team keep it at the head of the leaderboard with the BP-Ford World Rally Team maintaining second. Loeb once again proved to be the dominant force in Germany, the Frenchman leading from start to finish to win by 33.8 seconds. Sordo also performed faultlessly in the second Xsara and rewarded the team richly for its faith in the 23-year-old rising star. Third position was claimed by Ford’s Marcus Grönholm. The Finn suffered a difficult opening leg in the wet - having not tested the Focus in such conditions - but regained confidence during the drier second and third legs. Toni Gardemeister, in a privately-entered Citroën, finished a fine fourth while Mikko Hirvonen looked set to finish fifth before a broken alternator saw him out of the rally after the final stage. The final top six positions therefore went to Peugeot 307 driver Manfred Stohl and Škoda’s Andreas Aigner, who claimed his first ever driver points in sixth, despite going off 3km before the end of the last stage.

Team News:

Manufacturer 1: Kronos Total Citroen World Rally Team / Citroën Xsara WRC
1 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (F/MC)
2 Daniel Sordo / Marc Marti (E)
15 Xavier Pons / Carlos del Barrio (E)

The two Kronos Total Citroen WRT Xsaras got through the four stages of the final day without the slightest problem. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena won the Rallye Deutschland for the fifth consecutive time, becoming the first crew ever to achieve such a feat on the full World Championship. Their excellent win, after a rally which they dominated from the start, is the 26th in total for the Franco-Monegasque pairing. Seb now joins Carlos Sainz as the most successful driver in the history of the sport.

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: « I love the Rallye Deutschland and it has always been good to me. But it's fair to say that the traditionally complex weather makes it quite a stressful experience. There was a bit of extra pressure on top as well : I had to make sure I made no mistakes on my home territory and score the maximum number of points for the championship. Now it's over and I can relax a bit ! I want to really savour the feeling of equalling Carlos Sainz's record number of wins. I've never hidden the fact that this is a record I really wanted, because of the immense respect I have for Carlos and his career. Yet it's still a benchmark I want to beat. »

Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: "Marc Van Dalen and the entire Kronos team showed a lot of faith in me by nominating me to score points. I am really pleased to thank them by bringing back the maximum possible number of points. I'm also really pleased to see that my pace notes - made last year when I was driving the C2 Super 1600 - worked perfectly. I'd like to thank Marc [Marti] who has always pushed me to get my notes absolutely right. Finally, I'd like to thank Seb. He has been incredibly good to me, and his advice on tyres and setup is a huge help. »

Manufacturer 1: BP- Ford World Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC06
3 Marcus Grönholm / Timo Rautiainen (FIN)
4 Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)

BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen finished third on the Rallye Deutschland today to claim their fourth podium in five years here. It was the sixth occasion the Finns have claimed a top three finish this season in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, and they remain second in the FIA World Rally Championship after nine of 16 rounds. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished ninth in a similar BP Ultimate and Castrol-branded Focus RS, after a last-gasp drama when the Finns stopped with a broken alternator on the liaison section to the finish in Trier after the final stage. Hirvonen would have finished fifth but the five minute penalty incurred for being helped to the finish cost four driver points.

Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen: "A podium is a good, solid finish and after a difficult rally I have to be happy with that," he said. "But I had hoped to be fighting with the Citroen of Sébastien Loeb for victory rather than the similar car of Gardemeister for third. But I wasn't happy in the rain on Friday and so there was no chance of that. I was a little bit slow on the first stage this morning but then I found my pace and it was just a question of keeping an eye on Toni's stage times.

Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "I started to have battery problems on the stages because the alternator wasn't charging any more," he said. "Then the car stopped and there was no power in the battery to get moving. After everything that has happened this weekend, I just can't believe this. I've lost driver points and a manufacturer point and that's a big shame. My Saturday performance was very good but on Friday I was off the pace in the wet weather. It has been a tough weekend and now my thoughts are focused on my home rally next weekend where I hope my luck will be better."

Manufacturer 1: Subaru World Rally Team / Subaru Impreza WRC 2006
5 Petter Solberg / Philip Mills (N/GB)
6 Stephane Sarrazin / Stéphane Prevot (F/B)
16 Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall (AUS)

Chris Atkinson crossed the finish ramp of Rally Germany in eighth place today to score one driver point. Despite limited experience of the specialist asphalt rally, the Australian drove swiftly and consistently all weekend to record his best ever finish on the event. His Impreza WRC2005 ran faultlessly throughout. For Stephane Sarrazin the rally came to a premature end following an accident on the first stage of the Leg.

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: Retired - Engine

Stephane Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: "It's very frustrating. I was anticipating a good fight for seventh place today and, after yesterday, I was feeling positive about the car and my driving. We were less than one kilometre into the stage when we went off. I just under-steered straight on at a slow, second-gear corner. Spectators helped push the car back on the road, but unfortunately I couldn't continue"

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "Today was okay. We came here hoping to get in the points, and we got there in the end. The first stage was quite good for us, although the brakes didn't feel so good on the second and caused us to have a small spin. As we weren't in a position to fight for any more places, we took it fairly steadily over the final two. Generally it's been a useful rally for us. I'm looking forward to getting back in a 2006 model Impreza for Finland."

Manufacturer 2: OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team / Peugeot 307 WRC
7 Manfred Stohl / Ilka Minor (A)

Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor have conquered the curse of Germany. The OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team finished in excellent 5th place at the homerally. That is the best result of the 34-year-old Austrian at a tarmac rally in the World Championship. With this result, the OMV Team Stohl/Minor advanced to 4th place in the FIA Rally Championship driver ranking, with a score of 24 points.

Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "I'm very happy, that we were able to deliver a good performance in Germany this year. The OMV ADAC Rallye is a very difficult competition, you are forced to constantly test your limits. The line between success and defeat is very thin. Our successful tests in the run-up were crucial. My Peugeot 307 WRC was perfectly prepared for this rally by Bozian Racing."

Manufacturer 2: Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team / Ford Focus RS WRC04
9 Matthew Wilson / Michael Orr (GB)
10 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (FIN)

 

Manufacturer 2: Red Bull Skoda Team / Skoda Fabia WRC05
11 Mattias Ekström / Jonas Andersson (S)
12 Andreas Aigner / Timo Timo Gottschalk (A/D)

The OMV ADAC Rally Germany in Trier, which ended today in wet conditions, brought Red Bull Skoda the best result in this year's world championship so far.

Mattias Ekstrom/Jonas Andersson: "I've learned a lot here. Rallying, especially in changing weather conditions such as these, is tremendous. Right now, the DTM with Audi is on top of my agenda, of course, but if another chance to drive a rally presents itself, I will take it again."

Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "I had been 19.3 seconds ahead of the pursuing Jan Kopecky (Skoda) prior to the final stage. Three corners before the end of the final SS I slid off the road, lost some time and was just able to finish 3.2 seconds ahead of the Czech. I can be more than happy with the result. Of the 19 stages in total I was able to post top ten times on 15 of them, this pleases me the most. I want to thank the team and especially Klaus. Now I just wish that we will be able to continue just as well in the remaining rallies in Cyprus, Turkey and Wales."


FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
OMV ADAC RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND
Media FIA Post-event Press Conference
13.08.2006

Present:
Sébastien Loeb – Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team
Daniel Elena – Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team
Daniel Sordo – Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team
Marc Marti – Kronos Citroën World Rally Team
Marcus Grönholm – BP Ford World Rally Team
Timo Rautiainen – BP Ford World Rally Team
Representative of the winning Manufacturer Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team - Marc van Dalen

Welcome to the post-event FIA press conference of the OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Q:
Sébastien, congratulations on your fifth win in Germany - I think the only other person to win the same rally five times in a row is Tommi Makinen in Finland. And you also equal Carlos Sainz’s record of 26 world rally victories. What do you think of that? Moving onto this rally, how much of a challenge did Dani Sordo give you? The weather on the first day was tricky, but it was more constant in the second and third legs; did the event get easier for you? Were you surprised by Dani’s pace, or were you expecting him to be as quick as this?

SL:
For me, it is a very good moment to win here. I have won every time I competed in Germany. To win in these conditions is very exciting. Matching Carlos’ record was my main goal; I now have equalled it, which is a really good moment. Dani was a bit too fast in the beginning! He did a good performance, he did the same pace as me the whole time and made me push very hard to stay in front. In the future, he will be more and more a threat for me. I expected him to be fast. Together with Marcus, I ranked him as my main opponent before this rally and it shows. He has little experience here, but drove without making any errors.

Q:
Daniel, how hard did you have to push? How would you compare this event with all the other Rallye Deutschlands you have won?

DE:
On the first day, conditions were not easy with rain and dry tracks. We had a good gap in the end and maintained it on the second and third days. Compared to our other wins here, this one was more difficult because of the difficult tyre choice. We did a mistake with the tyres yesterday, Marcus did on Friday but we came out on top.

Q:
Dani, a fantastic event for you. How does it feel to share the podium with Sébastien Loeb and Marcus Gronholm again? Were you expecting this sort of result at the start of the rally? At the start of the second day, you were actually taking time out of Sébastien. Do you think you could actually have challenged him for the win?

DS:
It is very nice. This rally was very special because of the difficult conditions, but the whole team did very well and so did Marc and I. I am happy. It is difficult to say whether I could have challenged Seb for the win. At the moment, Seb is the best driver, but in the future, I don’t know.

Q:
Marc, would you have let Dani challenge for the win?

MvD:
Honestly, it wasn’t difficult for us to handle. Both are very clever, professional drivers and when you are leading with one and a half minutes, there is no question to do something wrong. They are clever and understand that. It was logical to keep things like that.

Q:
Marc, congratulations. Did you have any problems at all on the event? What do you think about the way Dani drove on this rally? Has his pace surprised you? Do you see anything similar to Carlos Sainz in the way he drives?

MM:
Maybe it was less surprising for me than for other people, but given the fact that he has little experience, his performance is remarkable. We try to do our best, but still have a lot of work to do. We need to discover all the rallies and gain experience. We can benefit from that in the future. Seb is the best driver of the world, but when Carlos was driving, the Championship had less events. It is difficult to compare; in Carlos’ days, the situation was different concerning testing, cars etcetera. Now, with only two recce runs, you have to make the best out of limited possibilities.

Q:
Marcus, third place – congratulations. Was the rain on Friday your biggest problem here? If you had had the right tyres for the right conditions all the time do you think that you could have challenged the Citroëns for victory?

MG:
We were not good on Friday when it was raining and we took the wrong tyres. We were not well prepared for these conditions and that is why I lacked the confidence to go really fast. With the right tyres, we could have been closer, but not two or three minutes.

Q:
When things were going right for you, you were very fast but you also went off the road a few times. What was your biggest moment here?

TR:
The first stage already had so many big moments it would take all evening to tell about them! Maybe the biggest one was at Erzweiler where Marcus tried to avoid a stone that was on the road and we ploughed through a field for 100, 200 metres and over two ditches before getting back on the road. I am pleased to see that this rally is over and that we have made it to the finish.

Q:
Your Championship lead is now more than 30 points with seven rallies to go. You must be feeling very confident now? Can you start to relax a little bit? Will you be able to challenge Marcus for the victory in Finland?

SL:
Sure, my lead in the Championship is good, but when you start a rally like here and you know it is tricky, anything can happen. When I retire and Marcus wins, it is a completely different story. But now the situation is quite comfortable and we will try to keep on winning. I will try to win in Finland as well. Last year I was able to challenge Marcus in Finland for the first time, but it wasn’t enough. This time, we will see.

Q:
Marcus, what do you think about Finland and the Championship?

MG:
Finland will be a hard fight, with Mikko (Hirvonen) also as a contender. About the Championship, no I don’t think that our chances are any good, but we never know. For sure, Seb’s advantage is too big to catch him.

Q:
Timo, what do you reckon about the title? Is it all over?

TR:
No, it is not impossible, but firstly, we have to catch up.

Q:
Talking about Finland, what do you think your chances are there? How much does a result like this help your future and do you think you have a good chance of being Sébastien Loeb’s team- mate next year at Citroen as well?

DS:
Finland is different. It is a rally where I can learn a lot and I intend to score as many points as possible for the team. I hope that this result helps me to stay. Sébastien is a very good team-mate and teacher for me.

Q:
One of the keys to this event was making the right tyre choice. Seb and Daniel always seemed to be on the right tyres for the conditions; how did you manage to get the correct information? Why do you think you were better at forecasting the weather than everybody else?

MvD:
I think it was real teamwork. We are lucky to have Météo France as a partner and they helped us a lot during the rally, and so do the people of BFGoodrich. We get a lot of feedback, also from the team and the driver, and when it comes down to making the final choice, we are usually down to choosing from only two tyres, which makes it easier. The drivers have the final say.

Q:
How confident are you feeling now for the Championship? A one-two is a perfect result and it’s beginning to give you a good lead now.

MvD:
This score is a dream for is. Everybody knows our situation and it is not easy as Sébastien is leaving at the end of the season. We have to enjoy it as long as he is there and celebrate the success. The motivation for everybody is 100 percent.

2006 FIA JUNIOR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
Kris Meeke
Glenn Patterson

Now for the final press conference of the FIA JWRC, we have the winning crew of Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson.

Q:
Kris, an extraordinary event for you including punctures, brake problems, rain, tyre swaps, you name it. Talk us through it.

KM:
It was a good start. The first stage was cancelled for us, we had a lead of 20 seconds after SS3, but then we had problems with the brakes on the road section towards SS4. We only had the handbrake to use for the 20 kilometre stage and it stopped working halfway through. It was really challenging and scary. We tried to fight back after that, but the cancellation of some more stages limited our possibilities. At Bosenberg, we had a puncture and changed it in under one minute which kept us in the hunt. After nine stages, we were 1 minute 35 seconds down. The car and the tyres were working well, the whole package was really good and at Baumholder, I had a lot of confidence. This morning, we just did a nice pace with which we were comfortable and finally, the win was ours.

Q:
You’ve won before but this must be the one that will stick in your mind.

KM:
I have to ask Sébastien how to win this one easily, but overcoming all these problems and still getting a result makes things special. We are now in a good shape for Finland on the back of this result.

Q:
Congratulations Glenn. When you dropped all that time, did you think that victory was still possible?

GP:
When we finished the stage, the first thing Kris said to me was that it would be possible to win. We won back quite a lot of time.

Q:
How difficult did the weather conditions make this rally? Was it one of the most difficult events you have contested? You seemed to have a lot more speed than the other competitors here – where did you find it from? Were you worried about reliability at all, going at that pace?

KM:
I have the experience of last year’s rally and we were fighting for stage wins at every stage. The speed was there last year where I matched Dani and we continued this year. I had full confidence in the car and it was a magic feeling when it was working. Monte Carlo is always difficult with the ice, but here, the weather is so changeable and it can be as slippery as ice. Through Baumholder, the surface changes every 200, 300 metres. Your notes have to be accurate. It is so easy to have an accident, you have to be careful. I just had to push.

Q:
How does this put you in the whole Championship frame now? Are you in contention for the win this year?

GP:
I think we are now fifth, so it sets us up for Finland. It would be special to repeat this in Finland, but it will be more difficult as there are more drivers there.

Q:
Now we move onto Rally Finland, which should be an exciting event as we will have a full JWRC field. What sort of result do you think you are capable of?

KM:
Anything is possible and for sure, the Championship is on. We are only halfway through the season and everything is working well for me and the team. We are concentrating all the time to stay clear of any problems.