Who can stop Ogier?
In the absence of Kris Meeke (Abu Dhabi Total WRT not competing in Germany) and Ogier’s team-mates Jari-matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen aside, the main threat comes from Hyundai’s two previous winners: Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.
Both i20 WRC drivers are previous winners in Trier and they pose an equally big threat. The one thing which could stymie their ultimate pace could be the Korean make’s need for points – both drivers are registered for manufacturer points. Will there be a question mark over Sordo following the fractured vertebrae he suffered testing for Finland?
There’s no doubt, Neuville is a driver who has always felt very much at home in Germany. It’s his favourite rally of the year and one where he gets the most support, with his Belgian hometown just a short drive away. Growing up on asphalt with limited and changeable grip levels has served him well on this event and his confidence with a car on the brakes in these conditions is obvious from the side of the road.
Just to add a further frisson, both drivers have something to prove to potential employers for next season.
Stephane Lefebvre has funded his own drive on this week’s Rally Germany, with the aim of equaling Craig Breen’s Finland podium.
Last year’s Rally Germany was Lefebvre’s first time in a World Rally Car, so he’s keen to monitor his progress 12 months on.
Lefebvre said: “When team’s programme did not go to Germany, I went in search of the budget. I want to confirm and illustrate my progress since my first time in a World Rally Car last year.”
Asked about a possible result this week, Lefebvre said: “After finishing fifth in Monte Carlo, I want to do at least as well. Obviously I dream [about the] podium, but I am already satisfied by finishing fourth or fifth.”