Spectacular opening city centre stage
This year’s Rallye Deutschland is based at a new service park at Bostalsee, which replaces the historic Trier this year. The start ceremony on the Thursday evening will take place outside Saarbrücken’s State Theatre, closely followed by the spectacular opening city centre stage.
Tight hairpin bends in vineyards
The seven special stages, which make up Friday leg, consist of two repeated tests in vineyards overlooking the Mosel River. These picturesque stages are characterised by tight hairpin bends and narrow asphalt tracks which test the reactions of both driver and co-driver. The opening leg also sees three runs of the shorter and new Wadern-Weiskirchen super special stage.
Treacherous hinkelsteins on Panzerplatte
Saturday sees teams taking on the infamous Panzerplatte stages, with no fewer than five stages on the daunting Baumholder military training area roads, where drivers have to avoid the famous kerb-stones which are the hallmarks of this event. Known as Hinkelsteins, they have ended the hopes of many drivers over the years and - especially in wet and slippery conditions - can make for treacherous and hugely dramatic stages. The Panzerplatte stages will also be contrasted with four other stages on wider and faster country roads, which will no doubt come as welcome relief.
The final day comprises four new stages, which take place along the borders with France and Luxembourg, before the finish in the Bostalsee service park.
2017 Rallye Deutschland Characteristics
There are almost too many challenges for drivers and co-drivers at the Rallye Deutschland to list in this article. They will have safety notes crews who will drive stages before the competitors to give them the latest information about the weather and conditions on the road. All of this information has to be assimilated into existing pace notes and then passed on to drivers at the right moment. Even the smallest mistake can mean the end of the rally for a car, especially if the Hinkelsteins are about.
Teams also have a choice between hard and soft tyre compounds depending on the conditions, but the weather can be so changeable that making the right choice can be tough and this too can be decisive when it comes to the outcome of the rally.
As a mandatory round for the WRC2 championship, there is a long list of competitors taking part too, including no fewer than 9 crews with the ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars. All of which makes for a fascinating spectacle and a compelling rally.