First victory at an asphalt rally slipped through the fingers
The first victory at an asphalt rally was incredibly close to Jari-Matti Latvala in German. The rally was driven in very familiar views, near to Trier, around the Mosel Valley vineyard edges, on the roads of the German Army training area.
The competition was completely Latvala’s show after Volkswagen-team mate Sebastien Ogier slipped out of the road on the first day of the rally. After that, the French suspended his rallt when he slipped out of the road again, on the second day.
Latvala could drive eight fastest times on the route of 18 special stages before misfortune stroke on the first stage of the last competition day. A left turn junction was more slippery from the outer edge than Latvala expected. The car spun sideways and crashed into the vineyard.
– There should have been ”hold” in the pace notes, which means that we should have stayed on the inner edge as there was moisture next to the outer edge made of concrete. Then the rear of the car slided over the lawn, Latvala said.
Latvala stepped on the throttle and tried to drive back to the road but there wasn’t luck enough.
– I tried to keep the speed and then we ended up to the vineyard. There was a crash barrier that prevented us to return to the stage. If we had crashed a few meters to the side, we could have continued the rally.
Right speed on the asphalt
Falling by the wayside from the leading position was a huge disappointment for Latvala, because he had a great chance to bridge the gap between Ogier who is leading the whole WRC competition.
– It really niggles me but we have to go on. The positive thing here was that we got right speed, Latvala summed up. Leading the German rally turned out be dramatic also to Kris Meeke who stopped his rally.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville took the victory at rally and Dani Sordo, who won the rally last year, was second, bringing to double victory to the Hyundai-team.
Andreas Mikkelsen took third position with his VW. Mikko Hirvonen was in fifth place as the British driver of M-Sport, Elfyn Evans, was fourth.
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