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Rallye Deutschland, ninth round of WRC 2014 saw the maiden win for the Korean car maker Hyundai WRT and also its star driver Thierry Neuville winning his first ever rally in his career. Nobody expected that the rally which began with a heavy crash in shakedown for Neuville will end up in taste of Champagne! He gave the perfect gift for his mechanics who worked hard to put the car back on shape for the rally.
Leg 1 of rally consisted of 6 special stages and as expected Ogier took the early lead. The chasing pack was headed by Latvala who was only few seconds away. The whole day Ogier found himself battling with his team mate Latvala for the lead, who won two SS out of five and was only few seconds separated both drivers. It was the last stage of the day and there came the big moment of rally, Ogier went off the road, into the vineyards and that was end of rally for Ogier, thats what pressure can do. This left Latvala with a healthy 37sec overnight lead over Kris Meeke. Dani Sordo was in third 42.6sec off the lead. Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville rounded off the top five after end of Leg 1.
Leg 2 saw drivers complete eight more stages. It was one job for Latvala to maintain his lead and try to extend it more , which he did it very well by winning 5 stages in the day and extended his lead by 56.6secs over Citroen driver Kris Meeke. Thierry Neuville also had a good day in third just 4.3 sec away for second spot. Robert Kubica won two stages and showed his tarmac pace but he was not able to do that consistently and was in 10th overall. Sordo and Mikkelsen were in fourth and fifth respectively finishing the day 2.
Leg 3 was a short day with just 4 stages to go. It was all smooth sailing for Latvala who had to just bring the car home to win the rally. But the Leg 3 drama had just begun. Latvala went off the road in slippery conditions and the vineyards took another victim. Now young Britt Kris Meeke was leading, but just by 8.4 secs over Belgian Bullet Neuville. The very next stage it was another surprise, this time Kris Meeke hit a wall and lost his rear wheel and was out of rally. This handed the lead to Thierry Neuville. Ahead of his team mate Dani Sordo by 35.7 secs. Now it was a Hyundai 1-2 and they had to just bring the cars safely to finish line. And they did so. Which meant it was maiden win for Hundai WRT and both their drivers finishing in top two spots was a bonus. Andreas Mikkelsen ended the rally with podium finish. Young Welshman Elfyn Evans impressed by his fourth place finish, by outpacing his experienced team mate Mikko Hirvonen who finished fifth. Mads Ostberg struggled to find pace and was happy with sixth place. Martin Prokop and Dennis Kuipers finished seventh and eighth respectively. WRC 2 runners Pontus Tidemand and Ott Tanak rounded off the top ten finishers.
WRC 2 was won by Pontus Tidemand, with a last stage push he crossed the line just 1.8 sec ahead of Ott Tanak who finished in runner-up spot. Armin Kremer finished third. Stéphane Lefebvre took victory in WRC3 class , who was followed by Christian Riedemann just 9.4 secs behind. Drive Dmack Cup was won by Britt Tom Cave by over 3mins 17.1 secs over Sander Parn.
The German vineyards gave us many surprises, next trip is to the Australian forests. Untill then Happy Rallying!