Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo hold top-five spots after second day on German tarmac
August 22, 2015 The longest day of the German Rally has ended with a satisfying performance for our team with both Dani and Thierry sitting comfortably in the top-five.
Today’s itinerary saw drivers tackle over 170km of stages including two runs of the tough Panzerplatte Lang, which features the infamous Hinkelsteine rocks.
All four of our drivers have made it safely to the end of the day, making plenty of improvements and solving some technical issues along the way.
Dani picked up where he left off on Friday with a strong drive over both of today’s loops. He finished the day in fourth overall, 9.5 seconds ahead of Thierry. He finished both Panzerplatte passes with a top-five stage time.
We have worked hard today, said the Spaniard. I would like to thank the team, my engineers and mechanics for helping us to improve the car throughout the day. The morning loop was OK and we knew that Thierry was close to us on the classification. We set a good time in Panzerplatte but it was difficult to know how it compared because it is a long, long stage with no splits, so its easy to lose time without knowing it. We had a downshift problem at low gears in the afternoon but it didnt really affect the stage times too much. The car felt nice and I didnt expect it to handle so well. I enjoyed it but now we must bring the car home tomorrow to secure these important manufacturer points.
Thierry also enjoyed a strong day, ending today in fifth place after swapping positions with Dani multiple times during the today’s stages.
It has been an exciting day with the close fight between myself and Dani, said the Belgian, and I am quite happy with my performance. We have found a good balance between pushing for position and playing it safe, knowing that championship points are important for myself and for the team. This morning, the pace notes worked well and I felt happy with the car. In the long Panzerplatte stage, the settings were not quite right and we had some understeer, which lost us some time. The afternoon pass went better and although we were a bit slower in the middle of the long stage, I was pleased with my time. Im sure things will be as closely contested in tomorrows stages so we will continue with the approach we have taken today and see what happens.
Hayden Paddon has had a tough day but has learned a lot. He had some turbo-related technical issues, which slowed his stage times throughout the day. He finished the day in ninth overall.
Its been another demanding day but I am pleased to reach the end, said the Kiwi. We didnt have the best of mornings. The first stages went OK but Panzerplatte was a big challenge. We had some set-up issues, which made it difficult to drive the car and wasnt a great confidence-builder. We tried to improve in the afternoon but it transpired that we had a turbo problem, which we didnt realise at service. It helped to explain some of the time loss because we had carried the problem from the first stage and it was getting progressively worse. That gave me a bit more confidence because I was a bit disheartened at lunchtime. We will look at everything with the team tonight and hopefully therell be more to come tomorrow morning.
Kevin Abbring finished the day just outside the top-ten overall. He had a power steering problem in the morning loop but still found his rhythm. A positive afternoon loop gives the Dutchman confidence for Sunday’s remaining stages.
Its been a pleasure to drive these stages today, said the Dutchman. Especially the Panzerplatte, which was a really nice experience for me. It was quite heavy in the morning because we didnt have power steering but the team did a good job at lunchtime service to fix the problem for the afternoon loop. The second run went very well and I would like to thank the guys for allowing us to build our confidence this afternoon. We are getting there step-by-step, building the car around me and I am happy. Heres to more tomorrow!
Our drivers are all focused on their performances but the teams primary objective is to pick up as many manufacturer points as possible and reclaim second in the standings. A trouble-free end to tomorrow will be the ideal end to this home event for us.
Understandably, everyone has been looking at the close battle between Dani and Thierry today, commented Team Principal Michel Nandan. It has certainly been exciting to see them swap fourth and fifth positions throughout the day. Hayden and Kevin have both experienced some technical issues today but they are to be commended on pushing through and showing their usual professional approach. As a team, our target is to keep both cars in the top-five tomorrow. We maybe cant match the guys in the top-three but anything can happen in this rally as we know from last year so we will look to keep things steady tomorrow with the manufacturers’ championship firmly in mind.
The schedule for Sunday sees a repeated loop of Stein & Wein and Dhrontal, with the second Dhrontal loop being the Power Stage. These four stages are all that separate our team from a four-car finish on home tarmac at Rallye Deutschland.