Team Tuthill Porsche had a great start on the 2014 ADAC Rallye Deutschland today, with reliable running and respectable pace. As our first day of WRC competition and a celebration of the first anniversary of our great friend and supporter, EXE-TC’s Graham Gleeson, it could hardly have been any better.
Day one of Rally Germany consisted of three stages run twice each: once before lunch and then again in the afternoon. Our rally started with decent times on stages one and two – albeit with a few minor overshoots. Richard expected some minor excursions, with self-confessed rust in his pace note skills. Nevertheless, we ended stage two in a decent P33: just over two minutes down on the leader.
Stage three was another good run, which moved us up a place: now P32 with a 4.3-minute gap to the front and ahead of some WRC3 cars: the category RGT cars will be aiming at for prospective customers. After lunch, stage four was going well until disaster struck with a puncture on one of our Michelin tyres. The time lost doubled our gap to the front. The car was now almost nine minutes down, running P63 overall.
The worst thing from here would have been trying to charge back up the field: one could lose even more time, or worse. Richard and Stéphane played it cool, posting solid fifth and sixth stage times, which is more than the leader managed in the day’s final stage.
After a long delay at the start of SS6, Sebastian Ogier went off the road into a vineyard and picked up the wrong route out, losing ten minutes and the rally lead. In comparison, the Tuthill Porsche 911 RGT ended day one in a merit-filled P46 overall: twelve minutes down on the new rally leader.
“Of course we’re annoyed with the puncture,” said Richard. “That and a lack of recent seat time and pace note practice cost us most time today. While we are recent arrivals to the WRC, our team is well versed in rallying. My other two race mates – Stéphane and the car – have been brilliant, and our technical crew is doing sterling work in support. We’re delighted to finish the day in one piece.
“Tomorrow is a different day with brand new challenges. The rally runs around the Baumholder military tracks, with varying surfaces and car-claiming rocks called hinkelsteins on the Panzerplatte tests. As one car in a class of one, the only real competition is inside our own cabin. We’ll just keep our heads and try to clear the day, then count the scores at the end of it.”
Keep up with all the latest stage news on our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/Tuthill_Porsche. Tomorrow’s first stage starts at 07:38 local time.