Germany : BFGoodrich - Finish
Neither Mikko Hirvonen nor Marcus GrŲnholm took any risks regarding tyre choice this weekend in their BP Ford Focus'. Both Finns took the safe option (medium-soft compound) for the morning's action, switching to the medium compound for the afternoon's
stages. There was a significant difference in the wear-rate noted amongst the Ford drivers after the second attempt at Baumholder for which they all chose '2' compound g-Force Profilers: the wear rate of GrŲnholm and Hirvonen was 60%, but Wilson and Latvala both came away from the military ranges with extremely worn tyres.
For Friday afternoon's loop, CitroŽn's works drivers took a gamble when they chose '0+'compound g-Force Profilers, but the move failed to pay off as well as it did in 2006. The anticipated rain failed to materialize and Sebastien Loeb
had to push very hard to limit the damage. The rest of the weekend turned out to be more straightforward in terms of tyre choices, while the Frenchman looked after his tyres perfectly over the Baumholder ranges.
Subaru was the only team to nominate a hard compound tyre for the second attempt at the Baumholder stages which saw Atkinson post a fastest time (SS14). The Australian claimed two other fastest times on medium-soft and medium tyres, making it three best times on three different compounds.
Solberg and Atkinson chose medium-soft rubber for Friday morning (when the other teams opted for mediums) and both made a poor choice for Saturday morning's loop.
FranÁois Duval did not make the same mistake as the factory CitroŽn drivers on the Friday afternoon. While the factory pair went for a soft compound, the Belgian chose the medium-soft alternative to emerge in front at the end of Leg 1. He explained his two spins on SS7 by cold tyres. Stohl took the soft compound for on SS7 and SS8 (while all the others were on medium-softs) and was a creditable seventh quickest on SS7 but then retired on the following stage.Sebastien Loeb
"Despite my poor tyre choice for Friday afternoon, this is a very positive result for me. Last year, the soft option worked to our advantage but not this time. It was raining heavily as we pulled out of the service park in Trier and we thought the stages would be damp, or even that it might rain again during the afternoon, so we opted for the soft compound. However, three minutes after leaving service, we could see that the weather was perfectly clear in the direction we were heading. I knew it wouldn't be easy but we nonetheless succeeded in limiting the damage by pushing as hard as we could."
Chris Atkinson (Subaru/BFGoodrich)
"I am disappointed with the final result but the weekend wasn't that bad overall. We posted three fastest times, including one on hard tyres ('2+' compound) on Panzerplatte 2 and we made full use of the BFGoodrich range that was available for this event. We have built on the car's potential on asphalt that we saw on the Monte Carlo Rally, but there is still a great deal of work to do. An asphalt test is planned in September to prepare for Spain, Corsica and Ireland."
Matthieu Bonardel, BFGoodrich Rallies Programme Manager
"The Rallye Deutschland is traditionally one of the toughest rounds of the year for tyre manufacturers because of the traditionally unsettled weather. That said, it is just as difficult when the stages are entirely dry as they were this year! Tyre choices are not that much easier because the amount of grip available can change from one stage to another and there is always a chance that the weather conditions can change. The BFGoodrich range available here ensured that we had a tyre for all the conditions, from the '0+' soft compound for the vineyard stages to the '2+' hard compound for the Baumholder military ranges. That's a good sign for the three asphalt rallies still to come."