Rallye Deutschland: Preview
Toyota Yaris WRC returns to asphalt roads in Germany
Following on from victory on its home gravel roads of Finland, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team travels to Germany with the aim of another strong performance on the varied asphalt stages of Rallye Deutschland (August 16-19). This is the first event on asphalt since Corsica in April, providing drivers Jari-Matti Latvala, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi with the chance to demonstrate the continuing progress of the Toyota Yaris WRC.
The terrain on Rallye Deutschland is so diverse that it can be considered as three asphalt rallies in one: the twisting roads through the vineyards overlooking the Mosel river close to Trier, the fearsome Baumholder military training area with many different challenging surfaces, and the fast and narrow country lanes around the service park at the Bostalsee lake in the Saarland region. Tyre choice and car set-up can be further complicated by the often changeable weather conditions.
This year, the town of St Wendel hosts the start and the finish of the rally, including a super special stage to begin the event on Thursday evening. Friday begins with two stages around the vineyards before a spectator stage on the way back to the service park, with all three stages repeated in the afternoon. There are eight stages on Saturday, combining the famed Panzerplatte tracks on Baumholder with country lanes to the south. Sunday begins with a return to the vineyards for two runs over Grafschaft followed by the Bosenberg Power Stage close to the finish.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We go to Rallye Deutschland with a good feeling. I believe that our pre-event test went very well. Generally, the Yaris WRC has shown good performance on asphalt so far, and we hope to continue that progress on this rally. Using the experience that we gained last year, there are things we have been able to improve in certain areas. Ott won in Germany last year so we know that he can be strong there, while both Jari-Matti and Esapekka won stages for us. As both of them found last year when they had punctures, the Baumholder roads can be very tough. Some other stages can be quite narrow and with dirt on the surface, it can be easy to make mistakes.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“After Rally Finland I am feeling relaxed and I have a good feeling about Rallye Deutschland. I hope we can continue where we left off and maintain a good rhythm until the end of the year. I think our car should be good in Germany: last year we were already quite competitive there. I really enjoy the small country roads through the fields, which are narrow but fast, and the military area which also has some nice sections. We just have to be prepared for everything when it comes to the weather, because it can be very changeable.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“We will go to Germany with a high target after our win in Finland. I want to take it event-by-event, try to get the maximum out of each rally and see whether we can get back into the championship fight. I enjoy Germany every year. I like the challenge of having many different kind of roads. We will need to keep an eye on the weather because when I won the rally last year, the tyre choice made a big difference. The Yaris WRC has been performing pretty well on asphalt so I hope we will have everything we need to fight for the top. We are feeling confident.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Rallye Deutschland is always such a challenging rally. Usually there is some rain and you often get different conditions during each day. This can make things tricky because there is a lot of corner-cutting and a lot of dirt on the road. It has been difficult for me in the past, but I actually really like the challenge. I’m looking forward to being back on asphalt, too. In Corsica we achieved a nice setup with the car and the speed was good. Germany is quite a different rally but hopefully we can repeat that.”
The statistics (Rally Deutschland):
What happened last year?
Juho Hänninen finished one place away from the podium in fourth place for Toyota after taking two stage wins on a rally he had not competed on for six years. This including winning the notorious Panzerplatte stage, the longest of the rally. Jari-Matti Latvala also took two stage wins and finished in seventh place, while Esapekka Lappi finished a tough event with a stage win of his own on the final day.
Pictures will be uploaded here during the event
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