Dani Sordo of Spain, driving a Citroen DS3, won the Rally of Germany World Rally Championship (WRC) race at Trier on Sunday, ahead of Belgium’s Thierry Neuville in a Ford Fiesta RS and Mikko Hirvonen of Finland in a Citroen.
It was Sordo’s first world championship win and it came after a nail-biting finish to the ninth round of the season when Neuville went off the road just three kilometres before the finish and just three seconds off the lead.
“It’s a great moment for me,” said an emotional Sordo, the nearly-man of world rally racing with 34 podium finishes in 106 starts.
“Thierry was pushing so hard. He was a little slower than me at first but then he was faster so I needed to push harder.
“I was so nervous at the start but this win is something I’ve dreamed of for many years.”
Second place for Neuville, in his first full WRC season, extended a superb run of results which netted two seconds and a third before this event.
“I feel we proved a lot again, even if we did ultimately just miss out on the win,” he said.
“I decided we were going to go for it on the final stage, but coming out of the forest, I mistook one fast left-hand corner in the vineyards for another and we went off.
“By the time Nico (Gilsoul, co-driver) announced the pace note, it was already too late. Luckily we were able to rejoin the road and make it to the finish.”
Sebastien Ogier salvaged three points by winning the final Power Stage and the Frenchman holds a 75 point lead in the drivers’ standings over Neuville. Jari-Matti Latvala is third, 11 points behind, with four rounds remaining.
There was more drama though as two spectators were taken to hospital with injuries after being hit by a car. They had been standing in an area which was out of bounds to fans.
On Saturday organisers were forced to cancel the final stage of the day when two Dutch drivers, taking part in a support race to the main world championship event, died after their vehicle was involved in a heavy crash.