Dani Sordo has clinched his maiden win on a round of the World Rally Championship after Thierry Neuville’s challenge – also for a career first victory of his own – cruelly crumbled with a crash in the final kilometres of the event.
Sordo’s win means even in nine-times champion Sebastien Loeb’s absence that Citroen maintains its 100 per cent winning record on Rally Germany.
The Spaniard started Sunday with a 0.8 seconds advantage over Neuville and increased that to three seconds after the first of the two runs through the 24.5km Dronthal stage. By the end it had grown to 53.0s after Neuville, with one desperate last gasp effort, flew off the road in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta close to the finish.
Before Rally Germany Sordo had finished runner-up some 20 times in more than 100 WRC rallies and, his victory duck finally broken, he was understandably in tears as he came to a halt at the finish line.
Neuville was able to recover and finish in second place – a result that establishes himself in second position in the championship standings ahead of VW’s Jari Matti Latvala who crashed on Saturday while leading the event.
But he is still 75 points adrift of VW’s Sebastien Ogier who also crashed while in front on Friday – Frenchman Ogier can still become champion if he stretches his advantage to 85 points in Australia in three weeks’ time.
Robert Kubica added to Citroen’s joy in Germany by winning the WRC2 category with a stunning fifth place outright.