Loudon-clear guide to Rallye Deutschland

Loudon-clear guide to Rallye DeutschlandFrom Tunnocks (Stuart Loudon) [ 11/08/2018 ].
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The recipe of country roads, vineyards and military test tracks for Rally Germany - ADAC Rallye Deutschland locally - hasn't changed since it first arrived in the World Rally Championship 16 years ago. For the first eight of those, a key ingredient was Sébastien Loeb. The unbeatable one. It looked, for a while at least, like we might be in for the mouthwatering prospect of a Loeb return as the nine-time champion chased a tenth win in these parts. But it's not happening. He's hit the beach instead. No matter. Germany's still going to be a belter. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia narrowed championship leaders Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul's advantage by six points last time out at Rally Finland; 21 separates the top two crews coming into the season's second all-asphalt counter. The title race is on a knife-edge with both knowing a simple slip could cost them end-of-season glory.

This year's turning into an absolute thriller, here's what you need to know about next week…

ADAC Rallye Deutschland in detail
FIA World Rally Championship round 9/13
Date: Thursday August 16 - Sunday August 19
Based: Bostalsee
Service: Bostalsee
Stages: 18
Competitive distance: 325.76km (202.42 miles)
Liaison distance: 896.13km (556.85 miles)
Total distance: 1221.89km (759.28miles)
Shortest stage: SS1 St. Wendel 2.04km (1.26 miles)
Longest stage: SS9/13 Panzerplatte 38.57km (23.96 miles)
Currency: Euro
Time difference: GMT +2
Sunrise: 0618
Sunset: 2040

Shakedown:
The 5.52km (3.43 miles) shakedown stage is located in St. Wendel, 14.96km (9.29 miles) from the service park in Bostalsee. The stage runs from 0800-1330 on Thursday August 16.

ADAC Rallye Deutschland itinerary

Thursday August 16
SS1 St. Wendel 2.04km (1.26 miles) 1908

Friday August 17
SS2 Stein und Wein 1 19.44km (12.08 miles) 1011
SS3 Mittelmosel 1 22.0km (13.67 miles) 1105
SS4 Wadern-Weiskirchen 1 9.27km (5.76 miles) 1253
Service Bostalsee 1343
SS5 Stein und Wein 2 19.44km (12.08 miles) 1539
SS6 Mittelmosel 2 22.0km (13.67 miles) 1633
SS7 Wadern-Weiskirchen 2 9.27km (5.76 miles) 1821
Service Bostalsee 1911

Saturday August 18
SS8 Arena Panzerplatte 1 9.43km (5.85 miles) 0848
SS9 Panzerplatte 1 38.57km (23.96 miles) 0915
SS10 Freisen 1 14.78km (9.18 miles) 1103
SS11 Römerstrasse 1 12.28km (7.63 miles) 1206
Service Bostalsee 1310
SS12 Arena Panzerplatte 2 9.43km (5.85 miles) 1508
SS13 Panzerplatte 2 38.57km (23.96 miles) 1535
SS14 Freisen 2 14.78km (9.18 miles) 1723
SS15 Römerstrasse 2 12.28km (7.63 miles) 1826
Service Bostalsee 1930

Sunday August 19
SS16 Grafschaft 1 29.07km (18.06 miles) 0749
SS17 Grafschaft 2 29.07km (18.06 miles) 0942
Service Bostalsee 1112
SS18 Bosenberg 14.04km (8.72 miles) 1218
Finish St. Wendel 1238

2017 ADAC Rallye Deutschland result:
WRC:1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2h57m31.7s; 2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (Citroën C3 WRC) +16.4s; 3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +30.4s
WRC2: Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Ford Fiesta R5).
JWRC/WRC3Julius Tannert/Jürgen Heigl (Ford Fiesta R2T)

Running order:
5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC)
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC)
9 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)
6 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe
4 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC)
2 Elfyn Evans/Dan Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC)
10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC)
11 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroën C3 WRC)

Leading WRC championship positions:
1 Neuville 153pts; 2 Ogier 132; 3 Tänak 107; 4 Lappi 70; 5 Dani Sordo 60; 6 Mikkelsen 57; 7 Latvala 55; 8 Evans 52; 9 Ostberg 48; 10 Kris Meeke 43, etc

WRC manufacturer championship positions:
1 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 228pts; 2 M-Sport Ford WRT 202; 3 Toyota Gazoo Racing 201; 4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 153

Leading WRC2 runners:
31 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
32 Gus Greensmith/Craig Parry (Ford Fiesta R5)
33 Lukasz Pieniazek/Przemyslaw Mazur (Škoda Fabia R5)
34 Fabio Andolfi/Simone Scattolin (Škoda Fabia R5)
35 Nil Baldo/Miquel Sotos (Ford Fiesta R5)
36 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Hyundai NGi20 R5)
37 Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau (Citroën C3 R5)
38 Eddie Sciessere/Pietro Ometto (Hyundai NGi20 R5)
39 Yoann Bonato/Benjamin Bouilloud (Citroën C3 R5)
40 Jari Huttunen/Antti Linnaketo (Hyundai i20 R5)

Leading WRC2 championship positions:
1 Tidemand 93pts; 2 Kopecky 75; 3 Greensmith 55; 4 Veiby 45; 5 Pieniazek 40; 6 Huttunen 34, etc

Stuart Loudon's key stage: SS9 Panzerplatte 1 38.57km (23.96 miles)

This might seem the obvious one, but this Panzerplatte stage really is something special. And something really tough. It's famous for a seemingly endless series of junctions and surface changes, but we shouldn't forget there are some nice, fast, sweeping sections.

The challenge here is to maintain rhythm and commitment through the longest stage of the event. If it's hot and dry, the drivers will have to manage the tyres on some very abrasive sections. And if it's raining, the ability to read the grip and then trust what you have beneath you is key to a good time. What's also key is keeping the car neat, tidy and firmly in line as you thread your way across these military roads used to test tanks.

Running wide in a corner is never a good idea, but on this stage it could prove to be a rally-ending mistake, with hinkelsteins sitting at the side of the road waiting to claim the unwary.

This stage has claimed some real legends of the sport down the years - it was in the Arena section of Panzerplatte that Thierry Neuville lost the lead of the world championship. He'll be keen to avoid doing that this time around, which is why…

Stuart will be watching… 5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Thierry and Nicolas Gilsoul arrived in Germany as championship leaders last year (albeit level on points with Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia) and just when they needed to repeat the sort of form that carried them to their first ever WRC win in 2014, they really struggled.

Sliding off the road in Mittelmosel wasn't the Friday morning he wanted and it was hard to make up that time when the rain came in the afternoon. But the first Saturday stage was the one that hurt the most: damaging the left-rear as he cut a corner forced Neuville out for the rest of the day.

He can't afford anything like that this time around. He and Nicolas are 21 points in the lead of the championship and coming into the closest thing they've got to a home round of the series. It's imperative they take big points away from Bostalsee if they want to maintain that advantage over Seb and Julien.

Weather with you:
We're looking at mid-to-high 20s around the service park. The forecast is for sunshine with cloud coming in later in the weekend, with the potential for the odd thunderstorm and isolated shower. In short, the potential for the usual changeable weather in this part of the world.

Most successful drivers on ADAC Rallye Deutschland:
Sébastien Loeb (9 wins)