Toyota Yaris driver Ott Tänak dominated this weekend’s Rallye Deutschland after a hard fight for the overall lead with former teammate Sébastien Ogier, now at Ford. I was there, and, if I’m honest, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to help shove a car back on the road.
As someone who went to this rally in person, most of this was learned in rare pockets of rural cell service, sort of gathered based on the trilingual announcements going over the PA at several corners and ultimately confirmed online after each day is over. Rally is not the easiest sport to follow in person, but it’s certainly the most fun to try, given all of the excellent roads you have to traverse to get to the stages themselves.
Does sitting and waiting for cars in one relatively small venue bore you? Are you frustrated at not getting to drive anywhere yourself? You need to get to a rally, my friend. I haven’t had this much fun watching other people race in years.
The biggest drama of the event was in the Opel Rallye Cup support series, which had to contend with a disgruntled farmer who blocked the road with his car. Fortunately, none of the competitors suffered any time penalty as a result, per the event organizers. The unofficial Team America of Sean Johnston and Alex Kihurani got the Jalopnik bump to finish fifth overall despite an electrical problem in Panzerplatte that forced Kihurani to get out and jiggle some wires to get going again, plus second place in the power stage.
As with any rally, there’s a good amount of chaos and mayhem out there on the stages. Again, I was bummed that I didn’t get to roll a car back off its roof, but there’s always next time!