Neuville & Gilsoul claim maiden victory

Two rally leaders crash in dramatic final day, leaving Neuville and Hyundai to snatch maiden victories at Rallye Deutschland
At the end of an astonishing final day of Rallye Deutschland that has seen two rally leaders crash, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul have claimed their first-ever WRC victory and the first  win for the Hyundai i20 WRC. Remarkably, the Belgians were lucky to even start the event having rolled six times at shakedown which resulted in the team working 19 hours to fix the car for Friday’s start. To add to Hyundai’s celebrations, team-mates Dani Sordo and Marc Marti made it an impressive one-two for the Korean manufacturer in its debut year in the FIA World Rally Championship with the car. Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene finished third, the only Volkswagen crew to make it to the finish of the rally.
In the FIA World Rally Championship, Volkswagen crews continue to dominate, despite Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala retiring. The pair remain first and second with Mikkelsen third and it is now assured that a Volkswagen driver will clinch the Drivers’ title. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, Volkswagen’s fight for a second consecutive title continues, the German marque now 167 points ahead of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team with four rounds remaining.
Today’s route covered two loops of two stages over 74.60 competitive kilometres and looked set to see Jari-Matti Latvala claim his first asphalt rally win, which would also have put him firmly back in contention for the Championship title following the retirement of Ogier. However, the Finn went off in dramatic style in the opening stage, plunging through the vineyards and into instant retirement. Kris Meeke then looked set to become the first Briton to win a WRC event since 2002 until he too crashed out on the first corner of the following stage when a misjudged pace note resulted in him hitting a wall and taking a wheel off. Neuville then became the third rally leader of the day and, with a 37 second advantage over team-mate Sordo, was in a position to control the pace to the finish. Sordo, who won the event last year with Citroën, finished 40.7 seconds adrift and, with Hyundai claiming the victory it has ended Citroën’s 12-year reign of winning Rallye Deutschland and Volkswagen’s winning run of 12 events which began in Australia last year. Mikkelsen, in his first full Tarmac event in the Polo R WRC, finished a fine third despite a spin in the first stage. M-Sport team-mates Elfyn Evans and Mikko Hirvonen battled to the end, Evans taking fourth by just under seven seconds after possibly the best performance of his career which culminated in him winning the Power Stage. Mads Østberg claimed sixth in the sole remaining DS3 WRC and Martin Prokop finished further adrift in seventh.
The FIA World Rally Championship contenders now head to the other side of the world for Rally Australia (11-14 September), the penultimate all-gravel round of the series.
ADAC Rallye Deutschland – Final Unofficial Results (subject to scrutineering)

1.   Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul

Hyundai i20 WRC

3hr 07min 20.2sec

2.   Dani Sordo/Marc Marti

Hyundai i20 WRC

3hr 08min 00.9sec

3.   Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

3hr 08min 18.2sec

4.   Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

3hr 08min 23.8sec

5.   Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

3hr 08min 30.7sec

6.   Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson

Citroën DS3 WRC

3hr 08min 42.9sec

7.   Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

3hr 12min 13.0sec

8.   Dennis Kuipers/Robin Buysmans

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

3hr 16min 38.3sec

9.   Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson

Ford Fiesta R5

3hr 18min 55.6sec

10. Ott Tanak/Raigo Molder

Ford Fiesta R5

3hr 18min 57.4sec

FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers (after 9 of 13 rounds)

Sébastien Ogier (FRA)

187 points

Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)

143 points

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)

110 points

Mads Østberg (NOR)

74 points

Thierry Neuville (BEL)

73 points

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)

73 points

Elfyn Evans (GBR)

57 points

Kris Meeke (GBR)

54 points

Martin Prokop (CZE)

37 points

Henning Solberg (NOR)

26 points

Juho Hänninen (FIN)

20 points

Bryan Bouffier (FRA)

18 points

Dani Sordo (ESP)

18 points

Robert Kubica (POL)

12 points

Ott Tanak (EST)

11 points

Benito Guerra (MEX)

8 points

Hayden Paddon (NZL)

8 points

Chris Atkinson (AUS)

6 points

Pontus Tidemand (SWE)

6 points

Jaroslav Melicharek (SVK)

4 points

Dennis Kuipers (NLD)

4 points

Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)

3 points

Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)

2 points

Matteo Gamba (ITA)

2 points

Craig Breen (IRL)

2 points

Yuriy Protasov (UKR)

2 points

Jari Ketomaa (FIN)

1 point

Karl Kruuda (EST)

1 point

Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE)

1 point

FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers (after 9 of 13 rounds)

Volkswagen Motorsport

305 points

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

138 points

Hyundai Motorsport

131 points

M-Sport World Rally Team

128 points

Volkswagen Motorsport II

109 points

Jipocar Czech National Team

40 points

RK M-Sport World Rally Team

21 points

Hyundai Motorsport N

12 points