FIA Junior WRC switches to tarmac in Germany

After competing on gravel at the first three rounds of the season, the FIA Junior WRC championship competitors change surface at Rallye Deutschland. Championship leader with two wins under his belt, Simone Tempestini comes into this event with an 18-point lead over Ole Christian Veiby, who won last time out in Finland.

With rounds in Portugal, Poland and Finland, the first half of the FIA Junior WRC season was contested exclusively on gravel. However, with the next two rallies held in Germany and Corsica, the crews and teams will now have to show what they can do on tarmac!

ADAC Rallye Deutschland is a specific event for a number of reasons. Based in the walled city of Trier, the event takes the crews through the rich and varied landscape of the Mosel vineyards, the Eifel mountains, the countryside of the former French department of Sarre and the famous Baumholder military base. The 40km-long Panzerplatte stage is expected once again to be the rally’s decisive stage, with a series of changes in grip in between the ‘hinkelsteins’, the large rocks placed at the side of the road to guide the tanks on the tracks!

Winner of the opening two rounds of the season and runner-up in Finland, Simone Tempestini currently has the upper hand on his rivals. The Italian has achieved his goal by opening up a lead that means he can afford to control his pace on tarmac, a surface that is less to his liking. Two years ago, he nonetheless finished fifth in the JWRC category at this rally.

Second in the standings, 18 points behind the leader after winning in Finland, Ole Christian Veiby lines up at the start of ADAC Rallye Deutschland with limited experience on tarmac. The 20 year-old Norwegian did however take part in recce for the event in 2015, when it was not on the JWRC calendar. He may therefore be able to use this experience to secure a good result and stay in the title race.

Consistent since the start of the season with three top-five finishes, Vincent Dubert has a fine opportunity to confirm his place on the podium. As reward for winning the 2015 Citroën Racing Trophy title, the Frenchmen is enjoying the support of Citroën Racing and its partners in this, his first season competing at World level. Although he is more experienced on gravel, he should be capable of showing his versatility and getting close to the frontrunners.

After two podium finishes in Portugal and Poland, Terry Folb will be looking to get his season back on track at this round. Originally from Alsace, he will competing in relatively familiar surroundings. Last year, he showcased his skills on tarmac, with two podium finishes on the surface. The same goes for Romain Martel, who will be able to keep learning about top-level rallying in an environment he is more accustomed to.

After an up and down start to the season, Martin Koci will be determined to show what he can do on the ADAC Rallye Deutschland stages. The Slovakian knows this round well, having competed here in each of the last four years, notably finishing fourth in the FIA Junior WRC category in 2014. Big points are essential for him if he is to move back up the overall standings.

Mohamed Al Mutawaa has also had a tough start to the year, but he will be looking to make another step forward in Germany. It was here that the Abu Dhabi Racing driver made his World Championship debut, finishing fourth in the WRC3 in 2013. Having cut his teeth in single-seater racing before switching to rally, the Emirati should be well-equipped to go for a podium place.

WRC2: FIVE DS 3 R5s LINE UP IN GERMANYThe ever popular and competitive WRC2 features a twenty-strong line-up at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Five DS 3 R5s are included in the field, with the three of the cars running with the Evo 2016 upgrade kit. Quentin Gilbert, fifth in Finland, Yoann Bonato and Emil Bergkvist will therefore compete in cars fitted with several upgrades: new front end (radiator, intercooler, air box, upper crossmember and lower protection), improved power-assisted steering and upgraded onboard system. Jourdan Serderidis and Pierre-Louis Loubet will also be competing in DS 3 R5, but they will be driving 2014 versions.