Bostalsee, Germany: Contested on rain-soaked roads in the Mosel vineyards, day one of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland saw Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger showcase their skills on tarmac. After leading in the early part of the afternoon, the Norwegians ended the day in second position, 5.7s behind the leader. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT can also rely upon Craig Breen and Scott Martin, who lie seventh overall.
The rally got under way, with a super special stage held in the streets of Sarrebruck. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle made a terrible start when they hit a concrete wall on the opening stage, breaking the steering and leaving them with no choice but to stop.
Thanks to the hard work of the mechanics, the No. 7 C3 WRC crew were back in action on Day 1 with a ten-minute penalty applied, as per the Rally2 rules. The day’s leg began with four stages: two passes on Wadern-Weiskirchen (SS2/SS5) split by two classic speed tests, Mittelmosel (SS3) and Grafschaft (SS4).
With the weather forecast suggesting rain would fall during the morning, tyre choice proved tricky for the crews. Andreas Mikkelsen went with five soft compound Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, whilst Craig Breen and Kris Meeke opted for a mix of four softs and two hards.
“It’s great to be fighting for first place. I knew that it would be a tough day because of my starting position. Fortunately, it didn’t rain very much this morning. This afternoon, however, the rain was torrential at times for the second passes and the roads turned into a mudbath,” said Mikkelsen adding that he made right calls on the tyres.
“Throughout the day, we had to take a lot of risks to stay at the front and that’s what we managed to do. It’ll be a close fight tomorrow, but everything is possible at this stage,” said Mikkelsen.
As soon as the morning’s stages got underway, Andreas Mikkelsen was among the frontrunners. Second after Mittelmosel 1, the Norwegian took the stage win on SS4 to move into the overall lead! As the crews headed for the mid-leg service, the No. 9 C3 WRC remained top of the timesheets with a 4.1s lead over Tänak.
Not especially happy with his tyre choice on Mittelmosel, Craig Breen lost time on Grafschaft by making a few minor mistakes. At the day’s halfway point, the no. 8 crew held seventh position overall, 31.5s behind Mikkelsen.
UNOFFICIAL STANDINGS AFTER DAY 1
1. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1:07:23.0
2. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Citroën C3 WRC) +5.7
3. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +28.2
4. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +30.6
5. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +52.1
6. Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:14.7
7. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:24.5
8. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:54.7
9. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:29.5
10. Kopecky / Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +3:36.2