TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team took two more stage wins on day three of Rallye Deutschland. The first of these came when Juho Hänninen went fastest on the first run over the notorious Panzerplatte stage: one of the most famous and difficult tests of the entire FIA World Rally Championship. On a rally he is contesting for the first time in six years, Hänninen then continued his fine performance when he climbed to fourth overall at the beginning of the afternoon.
Unfortunately, Panzerplatte – which weaves for 41.97 kilometres through the Baumholder military ranges – showed its teeth to all three Toyota crews when it was run for the second time. Hänninen suffered a broken damper after an impact in the stage, affecting him in the two tests that followed before service. Nonetheless, he is only 4.2 seconds away from fourth place with four stages remaining tomorrow. Both Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi had to stop in Panzerplatte to replace punctured tyres. Latvala sits in seventh overall after a technical issue yesterday, but he was second quickest and then fastest of all on the day’s last two stages. After retiring from the first leg with broken suspension, Lappi was able to restart this morning and continue his learning process in his rookie campaign in a World Rally Car.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team principal)
“Today was quite a day, with some good times and some not-so-good times. Juho has done an absolutely brilliant drive today, especially on Panzerplatte. It was an incredible performance. In the afternoon we had a damper problem that slowed him down but tomorrow will be interesting with the small gap to Evans. Jari-Matti also set some good times. We don’t have so much experience with the car on asphalt and we know we still have some areas we can work on.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“It wasn’t a very easy morning for me. I was a little bit slow and I made some mistakes. In the afternoon I tried to push. Unfortunately, we lost some time with the puncture but at least the performance was there. We just need to get things fitting together. The speed was good in the afternoon so we will try to transfer that same feeling to tomorrow.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
“It felt good to win on Panzerplatte this morning. When I got to the end of the stage I had no idea how good the time would be compared to the others, so it was really nice to see that we were fastest. Altogether the morning loop was quite good. We had a damper break in Panzerplatte this afternoon but otherwise the car has been really good. Tomorrow it will be a battle again with Elfyn Evans like it was in Finland, but hopefully I will win this one.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 12)
“It has been a really frustrating day. I’m just struggling to get the speed and I don’t know why. I’m trying to do my best. I was really flat out on the last one but the time is not good. I can sleep on it now and hopefully improve tomorrow. We will make some changes to the car, and maybe we can improve the times that way.”
End of Day 3 (Saturday):
1 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2h31m32.2s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Citroen C3 WRC) +21.4s
3 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +29.6s
4 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m48.3s
5 Juho Hänninen/Kaj Lindström (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m52.5s
6 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC): +2m06.7s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4m04.9s
8 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m31.3s
9 Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Ford Fiesta R5) +8m41.9s
10 Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer (Ford Fiesta WRC) +8m54.5s
22 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +17m43.3s
(Results as of 20:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Much of today’s action, including the fearsome Panzerplatte stage, took place in the Baumholder area, a military training ground. The roads here are unlike any others in the WRC, consisting of broken concrete that offers less grip than traditional asphalt, particularly when wet. The roads are also lined by hinkelsteins. These large concrete blocks were designed to keep tanks on the road, so rally cars are advised to keep well away.
The rally concludes tomorrow with two runs over the Losheim am See and St. Wendeler Land stages. The first car is due to leave service at Bostalsee at 06:40, with the crews then travelling close to the border with France for Losheim am See. The St. Wendeler Land test finishes close to the service park, and will be the scene of the rally-ending Power Stage from 12:18.
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