Ott Tänak (EST) wins the 2017 ADAC Rallye Deutschland in front of 220,000 fans to take the second WRC victory of his career. His win also represents the first success at the German round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the M-Sport World Rally Team. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) in the Citroën C3 WRC ended the ADAC Rallye Deutschland 16.4 seconds behind the victorious Estonian in the Ford Fiesta WRC. Last year's winner Sébastien Ogier (FRA) finished third in his Ford Fiesta WRC, 30.4 seconds behind Tänak. This result is sufficient to see the four-time world champion return to the top of the Drivers' Championship in the FIA World Rally Championship, ahead of Thierry Neuville (BEL). German drivers also had cause for celebration at the Bostalsee: Julius Tannert (GER), who is sponsored by ADAC Stiftung Sport, won the Junior WRC class, while Armin Kremer (WRC) ended the ADAC Rallye Deutschland as the best-placed German in ninth place in his Ford Fiesta WRC.
ADAC Sports President Hermann Tomczyk: "The great response of the fans has shown us that giving the ADAC Rallye Deutschland a new look by moving it to the Saarland region was the right decision. We have thrilled the spectators with a lot of new elements, from the spectacular start in Saarbrücken to the power stage at the Bostalsee lake and the presentation ceremony in the service park, as well as the tried-and-tested rally festival at the Arena Panzerplatte. Moving the ADAC Rallye Deutschland to the Saarland was a major effort for the whole organisational team and was only possible with the great support we received from the political parties in Saarland and the responsible authorities. We will now work on further developing the spectator-friendly and compact format of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland in Saarland."
Klaus Bouillon, Saarland Minister of the Interior, Building and Sport: "The ADAC Rallye Deutschland is a great event for our state. The rally is one of the biggest events in our state and a good source of revenue. I am already looking forward to the 2018 ADAC Rallye Deutschland."
Spectators were treated to a thrilling round of the world championship from the word go on the 21 special stages in Saarland and the surrounding regions. The first highlight came on Thursday, in the form of the spectacular opening stage in the city of Saarbrücken, which was surprisingly won by WRC 2 driver Jan Kopecký (CZE). A thrilling battle for the lead between Tänak and Mikkelsen then developed on Friday's vineyard stages. Behind them, the two title aspirants Ogier and Neuville, who were tied on points in the Drivers' Championship, were embroiled in their own exciting duel.
Saturday morning produced an early winner in the battle between Ogier and Neuville, when the Belgian was forced to retire on the first short Panzerplatte stage with a broken suspension on his Hyundai i20 WRC. For the remaining stages, Ogier focussed on successfully securing third place. The Frenchman's team-mate, Tänak, opened a lead of 25 seconds over Mikkelsen on the first long Panzerplatte stage and the Saarland stage Freisen 1. The Citroën driver, who had finished third twice in Germany, managed to reduce his advantage a little on the afternoon loop.
Mikkelsen continued to apply the pressure on the final day, but Tänak held his nerve to superbly defend his ever-shrinking lead. The Estonian finally wrapped up his first victory at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland on the closing power stage (St. Wendeler Land 2), which ended at the Bostalsee service park. For Thierry Neuville, the exciting final stage was all about damage limitation. However, the Belgian had to settle for sixth place and so missed out on any bonus points in the world championship standings. Extra points did go to the winner of the power stage, Dani Sordo (five points), as well as the other drivers in the top five: Esapekka Lappi (four points) in a Toyota Yaris WRC, his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala (three points), Sébastien Ogier (two points) and Craig Breen (one point) in the Citroën C3 WRC.
Ott Tänak: "That was simply fantastic! We laid the foundations for this success with the right tyre selection on Friday. That allowed us to control proceedings for the rest of the weekend. This is our first win on tarmac - a really cool feeling. With 25 points from Germany, I see no reason why we should not have a say in the race for the title. We will continue to give it our all."
The result of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland sees Ogier regain the outright lead in the Drivers' Championship of the FIA World Rally Championship. With three WRC events remaining in 2017, the Frenchman now tops the table with 177 points, ahead of Thierry Neuville with 160 points and Tänak with 144 points.
The destination of the titles in the WRC 2 and Junior WRC classes was decided at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland: third place in the WRC 2 class in Germany saw Pontus Tidemand (SWE, Skoda Motorsport) crowned WRC 2 champion with races to spare. In the WRC 3 class, Nil Solans (ESP, Ford Fiesta R2) wrapped up the championship in Germany.
The best-placed German was Armin Kremer, who ended the ADAC Rallye Deutschland in the top ten: making a guest appearance in the Ford Fiesta WRC, the experienced 48-year-old finished ninth overall. The young German drivers supported by ADAC Stiftung Sport could also be satisfied with their good results: Skoda driver Marijan Griebel, the local favourite, finished 17th overall (8th place in WRC 2), while Julius Tannert's 31st place overall was enough to earn him victory in the Junior WRC class in a Ford Fiesta R2.
Provisional result after 21 special stages:
1. Tänak/Järveoja (EST/EST) Ford Fiesta WRC 2h 57m 31.7s
2. Mikkelsen/Jæger (NOR/NOR) Citroën C3 WRC + 16.4s
3. Ogier/Ingrassia (FRA/FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC + 30.4s
4. Hänninen/Lindström (FIN/FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC + 1m 49.2s
5. Breen/Martin (IRL/GBR) Citroën C3 WRC + 2m 01.5s
6. Evans/Barritt (GBR/GBR) Ford Fiesta WRC + 2m 03.4s
9. Kremer/Winklhofer (DEU/AUT) Ford Fiesta WRC + 10m 19.4s
17. Griebel/Kopczyk (DEU/DEU) Skoda Fabia R5 + 15m 29.8s
31. Tannert/Heigl (DEU/AUT) Ford Fiesta R2 + 33m 22.7s
Fastest stage times:
Tänak 5, Sordo 5, Mikkelsen 2, Hänninen 2, Latvala 2, Neuville 1, Ogier 1, Kopecký 1, Lappi 1, Breen 1
Kopecký WP1, Sordo WP2, Tänak WP3, Mikkelsen WP4-6, Tänak WP7-21 (finish)
Drivers' standings FIA World Rally Championship 2017 (after 10 of 13 rounds):
1. Ogier 177 points
2. Neuville 160 points
3. Tänak 144 points
4. Latvala 123 points
5. Sordo 89 points
6. Evans 87 points
7. Breen 64 points
8. Hänninen 58 points
9. Paddon 55 points
10. Lappi 49 points
Teams' standings FIA World Rally Championship 2017 (after 10 of 13 rounds):
1. M-Sport World Rally Team 325 points
2. Hyundai Motorsport 261 points
3. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 213 points
4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 163 points