WRC Rally Germany: Sebastien Ogier leads all-Volkswagen podium

Sebastien Ogier ended Volkswagen's win drought on Rally Germany at the head of a 1-2-3 for the German manufacturer, securing his 30th World Rally Championship win in the process

WRC Rally Germany: Sebastien Ogier leads all-Volkswagen podium

After crashing out last year, Ogier set his intentions out early, leading at the end of a fraught battle with Jari-Matti Latvala on day one.

A perfectly timed dominant run through the second Panzerplatte Long test turned out to be the decider for the Frenchman, who doubled his lead over Latvala during Saturday.

Despite Latvala clawing back some time on Sunday morning, and winning the powerstage to make up for crashing out on its first running while leading in 2014, Ogier cruised home to win by 23 seconds.

Andreas Mikkelsen suffered a scare on Sunday morning as Dani Sordo reduced the gap to the third place man on the two early stages.

Despite testing new differential settings for Cosica, the Norwegian was able to hold off the charging Spaniard's Hyundai with a couple of quicker times to conclude Sunday's action.

Fourth was still Sordo's best finish of the year and he also took a point from the powerstage.

Thierry Neuville was inconsistent throughout the rally, with last year's winner struggling with the i20.

A hefty dose of understeer through the 28-mile Panzerplatte Long stage cost the Belgian a particularly large amount of time.

Just behind Neuville, Elfyn Evans had breakout performance on asphalt and was the only non-VW driver to win a stage.

He suffered with set-up and brake issues on the Saturday, but delivered at times the best pace of any of the best of the rest.

Mads Ostberg had a typically steady weekend, managing seventh behind Evans. He took over the position from Evans' M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak, who went off on Saturday afternoon and struggled to get the Ford Fiesta going again.

Tanak had previously clawed his way back from an excursion on the opening stage that dropped him to 14th.

Ostberg's Citroen team-mate Kris Meeke had another difficult weekend. A trip off the road while pushing Mikkelsen for third on Friday led to a 10-minute delay as a compression strut broke.

Two points for second on the powerstage was little consolation for a driver fighting for his seat at Citroen next year.

Robert Kubica was never a factor: incurring a five-minute pre-rally penalty for an engine change, losing another five minutes when a trip through a vineyard meant he had to smash his windscreen to see on Friday afternoon and then hitting one of the infamous hinkelsteins on Saturday.

He at least reached the finish under Rally2 on Sunday.

Reigning Junior champion Stephane Lefebvre made a stunning World Rally Car debut in a third Citroen DS3, managing second fastest in the second Arena Panzerplatte stage on Saturday.

He drove excellently to bring the car home 10th, behind Hayden Paddon - who suffered from a turbo problem on Saturday and was understandably disheartened.

Jan Kopecky took WRC2 honours in a truly dominant display, his championship-leading Skoda team-mate Esapekka Lappi having crashed out early on.

With Craig Breen losing three minutes with a puncture when second, Kopecky's final victory margin was 4m13.8s over Toyota protege Eric Camilli's ORECA-run Ford.

LEADING FINISHERS AFTER SS21:

-

LEADING POWERSTAGE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 9m07.4s
2 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1.2s
3 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1.7s
4 Ott Tanak, R.Molder M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3.5s
4 Robert Kubica, M.Szczepaniak RK World Rally Team Ford 3.5s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 207
2 Jari-Matti Latvala 114
3 Andreas Mikkelsen 98
4 Mads Ostberg 90
5 Thierry Neuville 80
6 Elfyn Evans 61
7 Kris Meeke 56
8 Ott Tanak 53
9 Dani Sordo 52
10 Hayden Paddon 46
11 Martin Prokop 33
12 Khalid Al-Qassimi 9
13 Juho Hanninen 8
14 Yuriy Protasov 8
15 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 6
16 Nasser Al-Attiyah 6
17 Robert Kubica 6
18 Sebastien Loeb 6
19 Esapekka Lappi 4
20 Paolo Andreucci 4
20 Diego Dominguez 4
22 Pontus Tidemand 2
23 Jan Kopecky 2
24 Nicolas Fuchs 2
25 Gustavo Saba 2
26 Jari Ketomaa 1
27 Stephane Lefebvre 1
28 Lorenzo Bertelli 1
29 Federico Villagra 1

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WRC Rally Germany: Dominant Ogier leaves Latvala puzzled

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