ADAC Rallye Deutschland - Germany's major rally event
ADAC Rallye Deutschland is the major rally event in Germany and the only German event on the World Rally Championship’s calendar since the championship was inaugurated. Rallye Deutschland was held for the first time in 1982, becoming the WRC event for the first time in 2002. Since then, the event is a regular WRC fixture, with one exception in 2009, as one of the main asphalt events.
In thirty-four editions of the rally until 2016, the record holder with most wins is the nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, who won nine times. Sebastien Ogier is a three-time winner, other three WRC winners are Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville, and Ott Tanak.
Among the non-WRC winners in the pre-2002 period, Dieter Depping climbed three times on the top podium spot. Some other famous winners were Walter Röhrl, Hannu Mikkola, Michele Mouton, Armin Kremer or Philippe Bugalski.
Erwin Weber was the first winner
The first ever Rallye Deutschland, held in October 1982, was based in Frankfurt. The event was a part of the German Rally Championship. The first ever winners were German driver Erwin Weber and his navigator Mathias Berg in the #8 Opel Ascona 400.
Next year, the Group B cars came to Germany in September. The event was based in Mainz. Walter Röhrl took the victory in a Lancia 037 Rally. In the following three seasons of the Group B monsters, rally winners were Hannu Mikkola (1984, Audi Quattro Sport), Kalle Grundel (1985, Peugeot 205 T16) and Michele Mouton (1986, Peugeot 205 T16).
European Rally Championship event since 1985
In 1985, Rally Deutschland counted also for the first time for the European Rally Championship points and it remained the ERC event until 2001. The first post-Group B winner in 1987 was Jochi Kleint in a Volkswagen Golf GTi.
In the following years, the winners were Robert Droogmans (1988, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth), Patrick Snijers (1989, Toyota Celica GT-4), Robert Droogmans (1990, Lancia Delta Integrale 16V) and Piero Liatti (1991, Lancia Delta Integrale 16V), Erwin Weber (1992, Mitsubishi Galant VR-4) and Patrick Snijers (1993, Ford Escort RS Cosworth).
Dieter Depping’s first win in 1994
In 1994, Dieter Depping scored his first victory in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth. He won two more times with the same car, in 1996 and 1997, becoming the first three-time winner. Other winners during the 1990s were Enrico Bertone (1995, Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD), Matthias Kahle (1998, Toyota Corolla WRC) and Armin Kremer (1999, Subaru Impreza S3 WRC 97). The 1997 edition was marked by a death of Armin Kremer’s co-driver Sven Behling.
Trier is hosting the event since 2000
In 2000, the event moved its base to Trier for the first time. The winner was Henrik Lundgaard in a Toyota Corolla WRC. In 2001, what was the last non-WRC event, the winner was Philippe Bugalski in a Citroen Xsara WRC.
The Trier-based event became known by a mixture of track characteristics, with different asphalt roads for every next day, so many called the event as ‘three rallies on one’. The Panzerplatte special stage, located on the former military training ground, became one of the world’s famous special stages.
Eight consecutive wins for Sebastien Loeb
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena became the first winners in the WRC era of the ADAC Rally Deutschland. They won in the #21 Citroën Xsara WRC ahead of two Peugeot drivers Richard Burns and Marcus Gronholm. Next year, Loeb beat Gronholm by just 3.6 seconds for his second win in a Xsara WRC. The third win in a Xsara WRC came in 2004 and then two more in 2005 and 2006.
In 2007, the #1 Citroën C4 WRC was Loeb’s victorious car and then again in 2008. Due to FIA’s round rotation system, the rally was out of WRC in 2009. In 2010, Loeb scored his 8th consecutive win, driving a Citroën C4 WRC.
Another Sebastien scored his first win in 2011
In 2011, another Sebastien climbed to the top podium spot. Sebastien Ogier beat his mentor Loeb, driving a Citroën DS3 WRC, for his first win on German soil. Loeb returned to the top in 2012, scoring his ninth and last win at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
Maiden WRC win for Neuville
Thierry Neuville returned in 2014 with Hyundai i20 WRC to score maiden WRC victory both for him and for Hyundai. Dani Sordo, who was also driving Hyundai, joined him on a podium as the second-placed driver.
Sebastien Ogier, who dominated in the championship between 2013 and 2016, scored two more wins at ADAC Rally Deutschland in 2015 and 2016, both driving Volkswagen Polo R WRC. In 2015, Volkswagen teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen completed a podium. In 2016, Neuville and Sordo scored two podium spots for Hyundai. In 2017, Ott Tanak added his name to the winners’ list in a brand-new Ford Fiesta WRC.