ŠKODA continues to set the pace at the Rally Germany. The second and longest day of the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season was dominated again by the teams who are competing with a FABIA R5 on the asphalt tracks around Trier.
No question about the duo of the day: Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm, who made all the right moves in difficult conditions on Saturday morning and took the lead in the WRC2 standings. Behind the “Flying Finns”, local heroes Armin Kremer / Pirmin Winklhofer enjoyed a thrilling duel for second place with the second ŠKODA Motorsport duo of Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler.
Light showers on Saturday morning made it difficult for teams to choose the right tyres, as the stages were not soaking wet but the teams still had some moist areas to contend with. ŠKODA works driver Lappi relied on a combination of soft and hard tyre mixes from ŠKODA Motorsport partner Michelin. A clever choice: in the first two special stages of the day, Lappi clawed back 49.3 seconds as he reeled in ŠKODA brand team-mate Kremer and moved into the lead ahead of him. He was able to extend his lead to 1:09.9 minutes on the other stages held during the day, which included the legendary Panzerplatte stages at the military base in Baumholder.
The experienced Czech driver underlined just how dangerous he can be at the Rally Germany by recording some fast stage times, including four special stage victories.
ŠKODA works duo Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson, who are also competing in a FABIA R5 at the Rally Germany but are not registered for the WRC2 standings, continued their impressive performance on Saturday. As the two Swedish drivers are not registered for the championship competition at the classic asphalt event around Trier, they have to start the special stages much later than their team-mates – and therefore have to deal with much dirtier track conditions. Nonetheless, they recorded times nearly as fast as those of Lappi and Kopecký, and are currently in eighth place overall in the rally.
On the final day of the rally, the teams will once again be rallying around the Moselle vineyards. Four special stages are scheduled, over a total distance of 59.26 kilometres. The awards ceremony will take place at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon, in front of the Porta Nigra in Trier.
|Rally Germany 2016 – WRC2 standings after Leg 2:|
|1.||Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||2h32m26.7s|
|2.||Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 1m09.9s|
|3.||Armin Kremer / Primin Winklhofer
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 1m28.3s|
|4.||Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 2m14.3s|
|5.||Pierre Loubet / Vincent Landais
|Citroën DS3 R5||+ 2m53.8s|
The number of the day: 6
Saturday could hardly have gone better for ŠKODA. The longest day of the 34th edition of the Rally Germany – featuring 148.57 stage kilometres – culminated in an impressive interim result. The two ŠKODA works duos are leading the overall WRC2 standings, followed by four more ŠKODA customer teams in the top ten. This means that there are six FABIA R5s in the top ten.