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News and Quotes SS11

After two days in Czechia and a morning in Austria, the WRC Central European Rally undertook its first competitive stage in Germany as the field moved to the short but challenging 11.88 km test of Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald. Despite a wild ride, newcomer Grégoire Munster, starting only his second event in a Rally1 hybrid, was able to outpace his M-Sport team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet to reaffirm his hold on eighth place. Teemu Suninen’s day kept improving, beating the time of WRC legend Sébastien Ogier by almost a second in his pursuit of Takamoto Katsuta’s sixth place overall. A hesitant run from the Japanese star settled the argument in Suninen’s favour as they headed to the mid-day service. Drama followed, however, as championship contender Elfyn Evans crashed out into a wooden outhouse, demolishing a door and with it his chances of taking the title fight with Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanperä to the final round in Japan. Rovanperä meanwhile dropped another 22 seconds, erring on the side of caution now that one hand is on the champion’s trophy, and handed the lead of the event to Thierry Neuville, who won the stage.

#13 Grégoire Munster (LUX) / Louis Louka (BEL), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid

“I stalled in a hairpin, had to restart the car so my time is quite surprising. It was really tricky, I tried to stay efficient… I don’t know where I lost the rear bumper!”

#18 Takamoto Katsuta (JPN) / Aaron Johnston (IRL), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid

“A lot of mud is coming up from the inside of the corners which is what we expected. For me it’s very, very difficult to drive. I don’t have the feeling. I mean, I am really struggling. I don’t know why.”

#8 Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid

“It was more tricky. We lost the hybrid on the previous stage and with the slick it was a bit more challenging. But I would say definitely better than I expected so not too bad in the end. Let’s see, Seb’s pushing from behind as well so we definitely can’t rest and we need to be better on the next loop.”

#11 Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid

“I mean obviously disappointed for Elfyn, his championship hopes obviously gone now, but that’s rallying. Very tricky stage. Very, very tricky stage. Probably the most demanding of the lop, we did what we could. We just had a bit of a surprise because we didn’t get any warning from the team that Elfyn went off so when I arrived there, the fastest corner, on the braking I really was surprised and, yeah, a bit of a shock.”

#69 Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttonen (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid

“I knew that Elfyn is off so why would I risk anything anymore? A really, really shame for Elfyn and Scott, I hope they are both okay. I saw them on the side of the road so I hope they’re okay. It’s a shame, they put on a good fight and it would have been really tricky for us to keep pushing. Being last car on the road, this morning was rally tricky. This one was full mess everywhere. Now the goal is a bit different, we just try to finish with some good points. We also had our moment on the previous stage but we kept it together and let’s try to finish it now.”


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