WRC Rally Germany 2019 Preview 

The Rally Germany 2019, tenth appointment of the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar, will commence this Thursday, 22nd August. The comeback to the asphalt, after five-months of racing in dirt tracks, will no doubt pose a great challenge for both vehicles and drivers. 

The Rally Germany 2019 is also the last asphalt race of the championship and is considered to be the toughest of them all. The teams will try and consolidate their positions in the fight for the title. There is little margin for error, as there are only four races remaining after this one. 

Toyota’s leader Ott Tänak arrives in Rally Germany 2019 as the leader of the standings, 22 and 25 points ahead of Sebastien Ogier (Citroën) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) respectively, after putting up a masterful display in Finland.

The former two rivals are therefore in desperate need to cut back the distance with Tänak if they want to keep their options open.  The 11 WRC participants which will come face to face on Thursday at the 37th edition of the German Rally, will enjoy a unique battlefield that runs across a very varied range of sceneries.

Featuring some of the toughest asphalt roads of the whole championship, drivers will pass through spectacular winding roads flanked by vineyards, uneven military tracks and above all, plenty of concrete and hair-raising jumps. 

To add to the challenge, the weather is forecasted to be unsettled. The likely rain and overall humidity could turn the roads into an ice rink and the choosing of tires into a real headache. Welcome to (the other) green hell!

Toyota and Tänak: Favourites 

Ott Tänak’s great state of form makes him and his team, the Toyota GAZOO Racing, the absolute favourites to win the Rally Germany 2019. The Estonian has taken three of the last four races (Chile, Portugal and Finland) of 2019. In Germany, he won both the 2017 and 2018 editions.

Tänak is now focused on adding a third consecutive triumph on German soil. The Estonian, in perfect harmony with his Japanese missile, is the rival to beat, but as things stand, it is hard to believe anyone could rise up to the challenge.

Side by side with Tänak will be the usual Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris MeekeFeaturing for the first time in the team will be Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta on board a fourth Yaris WRC at the Rally Germany 2019.

Citroën and Ogier: To chase the leader

True to its ways, Citroën is keeping the same line-up with Sebastien Ogier and Essapekka Lappi taking the start at the Rally Germany 2019. The C3 WRC will be introducing some mechanical upgrades which might help the defending champions get a bit closer to the leader.

Ogier, just as fellow rival Neuville, haven’t been up to scratch in the last two rallies (Sardinia and Finland). Up until then, Ogier had only missed the podium on one occasion: Sweden. The French six-time champion, however, hopes the Rally Germany 2019 which he has conquered in 2011, 2015 and 2016 will be the stage of his comeback.

Hyundai hoping to shine at home

For Hyundai, whose headquarters are in Alzenau, the Rally Germany 2019 is their home run, which gives them that much needed extra bit of motivation. They would want to concentrate their efforts in keeping their leadership of the constructors’ standings, which they currently hold at 24 points ahead of Toyota. 

The line-up of the i20 Coupe WRC will consist of Thierry Neuville, Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo. The Spaniard is back in action after his Sardinian success. The South Korean squad gets two previous champions in German land make of Hyundai an excellent team. Sordo uncorked the champagne there in 2013 and was second on five occasions (2005, 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2016). Neuville took the victory in 2014.

The Belgian driver has to put up a good performance after only achieving a sixth position in his last two races (Sardinia and Finland) and he hasn’t had a win for the last four races. 

M-Sport: Still without their star driver

Elfyn Evans‘ absence will be felt by the Cumbrian team, just as it was last time in Scandinavia. The main driver of the M-Sport team is still convalescing from the back injury he suffered in Estonia. Once again Gus Greensmith will pair up with Teemu Suninen on board his Ford Fiesta WRC.

Images of Rally Germany 2019: WRC.com

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