Abu Dhabi Citroen celebrated their third victory of the season in the World Rally Championship (WRC) on Sunday at Rally Germany, as Dani Sordo won his first event in 105 career attempts.
The Spaniard held off a strong challenge from M-Sport's Thierry Neuville to triumph by 53 seconds, with teammate Mikko Hirvonen completing the podium.
Sordo had taken a three-second advantage into the final 24.5km stage, but Neuville's aggressive final push was not enough, ensuring that Sordo could celebrate.
"It's a great moment for me," he said. "Thierry was pushing so hard. He was a little slower than me at first, but then he was faster, so I needed to push harder. I was so nervous at the start, but this win is something I've dreamed of for many years."
Hirvonen was satisfied with third place on the tarmac event.
"It was a solid weekend," he said. "At the start, I was happy with my pace and when I couldn't keep up, I eased off to secure my position."
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi just missed out on his third point-scoring finish of the season, finishing 11th, one place outside the 10 scoring positions. The Emirati made no secret of the fact that he had not enjoyed the asphalt surface, the first time he had raced on it in two years, and that rain on Sunday had made his life even tougher in his Abu Dhabi Citroen Total DS3.
"It was all the more difficult because I had no experience in conditions like that," Al Qassimi said. "Even in my normal, everyday life, I've never driven in such heavy rain. I was extremely cautious in order to make it to the end of the third leg without damaging the car."
Fellow Emirati Rashid Al Ketbi was content with his first run in his new Ford Fiesta as the Sky Dubai Rally team driver finished seventh in the WRC2 category and 19th overall.
Mohammed Al Mutawaa completed his first WRC event in 40th place overall, which left the Emirati in third in the WRC3 standings.
A day after two drivers were killed in a race mishap, two spectators were taken to the hospital with injuries on Sunday after being hit by a car that left the course. They had reportedly been standing in an area which was out of bounds to fans. On Saturday, organisers were forced to cancel the final stage of the day because of the fatal crash.
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