The list of homegrown drivers contesting next week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland (17-20 August) features an intriguing mixture of youth and experience – and could spring a surprise on the tricky asphalt stages.
The domestic contingent is headed by 2001 European champion Armin Kremer (above) who has teamed up with M-Sport to pilot a latest-generation Ford Fiesta World Rally Car for the first time.
The 48-year-old hasn’t driven a top specification car on a world round since he crashed out of his home event in 2004 at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla WRC.
However, he’s been a regular in the WRC 2 category recently and led the class at last year’s Rallye Deutschland before eventually succumbing to pressure from champion-elect Esapekka Lappi and finishing third.
Despite his lack of experience in a current generation World Rally Car, Kremer is excited to be tackling his home event in the same car as four-time world champion Sébastien Ogier.
“My anticipation is huge,” the three-time German rally champion said. “The 2017 WRC car is the absolute top class. My feeling is the same as a GP2 driver who is about to drive his home Grand Prix in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One car.
“For me, this rally is about finally driving a 2017 car and trying to compete against the world’s best drivers and not just ride around. It’s going to be spectacular!”
Reigning European Junior champion Marijan Griebel will make his WRC 2 debut in Germany when he drives a Skoda Fabia R5, while Fabian Kreim will also pilot a Fabia R5 entered by Skoda Auto Deutschland. Kreim has won three rounds of the German Rally Championship so far this season and, as he isn’t entered in WRC 2, will fight for class honours on home asphalt.
Julius Tannert, who finished third in the Junior WRC category at Rally Italia Sardegna in June, will drive a Ford Fiesta R2 in the front-wheel-drive championship counter.
Griebel is is a three-time class winner at Rallye Deutschland and only lives 15km from the new service park at Lake Bostalsee.
The 28-year-old said: “Starting in WRC 2 at ADAC Rallye Deutschland is a dream come true for me. It’s an obligatory WRC 2 rally, which means all the top drivers and contenders for the title will be there. I want to show everybody that I am competitive in my R5 even if I do not have as much experience.”