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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Next: Rnd 4 WRC Portugal 11-14 April

Rally de Portugal retains the broad format of 2012, with three days of competition in the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo regions. With the recce held on 9 and 10 April, the Qualifying Stage (April 11) returns to Vale do Judeu. Later that day, and for the first time since its return to the WRC, Rally de Portugal will feature a ceremonial start in the setting of the Vilamoura Marina, echoing the 2005 and 2006 rallies, which ran as candidate events ahead of the rally’s return to the WRC.

Portugal’s stages, which include a mixture of open roads and technical and narrow sections, are characterised by their abrasive surface. This puts the onus on tyre wear although the April date means this might not be as apparent as in 2010 when tyre wear rates were reported as being 40 per cent higher than on other gravel rallies.

Official Website: uk.rallydeportugal.pt/

Listen Live: wrc.com/fanzone/wrc-live/


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Sordo fastest in Portugal qualifying

Dani Sordo was quickest in qualifying for Rally de Portugal this morning as the top four drivers were covered by less than a second.

The Spaniard was fastest in a Citroen DS3 over the 4.98km Vale do Judeu stage by 0.7sec from championship leader Sebastien Ogier’s Volkswagen Polo R.

Ogier’s team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, was just one-tenth of a second slower and Mads Ostberg completed the top four, another tenth of a second behind, in a Ford Fiesta RS.

Sordo’s qualifying win follows his victory in the Fafe Rally Sprint, a warm-up for this fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, in northern Portugal last weekend.

It represents a turnaround in form for the 29-year-old, who cut a forlorn figure on the gravel roads of Rally Mexico last month. Although he finished fourth, he was more than six minutes behind the winner.

Sordo will now have first choice of his starting position when the 13 drivers in WRC cars make their selections this afternoon.

With the stages dry and covered in loose gravel in places, it would be a major surprise if he opted for anywhere other than last of the top priority drivers to make the most of roads swept clean by those drivers ahead.

Mikko Hirvonen was fifth fastest in the Citroen team’s other nominated DS3, the Finn 1.3sec behind his colleague. Evgeny Novikov rounded off the top six in a Fiesta RS, 0.3sec behind the Finn.

click: wrc.com/portugal qualifying

Rallye de Portugal - Qualifying stage:

1. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC -- 3m 01.6s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC -- +0.7s M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC -- +0.8s M
4. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC -- +0.9s M
5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC -- +1.3s M
6. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC -- +1.6s M
7. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC -- +2.0s T
8. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC -- +6.0s T
9. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC -- +6.6s
= Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC -- +6.6s T
11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC -- +7.8s T
12. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC -- +10.4s T
13. Dennis Kuipers Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC -- +12.2s

all times unofficial

WRC Portugal: Dani Sordo picks final start spot despite rain chance

Citroen driver Dani Sordo has elected to run at the back of the pack through Friday's opening day of Rally of Portugal, despite the potential for rain on the Algarve.

The Spaniard was fastest through the qualifying stage and wasted no time in selected the 13th and final spot for the World Rally Cars.

"The roads will be dry tomorrow," he said, "and they will be cleaning all of the time. We'll see, but I am happy with this start so far - it was an easy decision to make."

The rest of the drivers followed Sordo's lead, with Sebastien Ogier running as penultimate car and Jari-Matti Latvala third from the back.

"There is some small chance of the rain coming, but it's quite a small chance," said Latvala.

"And the stages are not so much like last year. When it rained last year the surface was quite like clay, which made quite the muddy surface, but here the gravel is not like that.

"This and the last round in Mexico is probably the easiest decision to make about running on the road, you want to be as far back as possible."

Thirteenth quickest in qualifying, Dutch driver Dennis Kuipers will run first on the road in his M-Sport Ford.

click: autosport.com/news/106639

Here is the list of today's running order selections:

1: Dennis Kuipers
2: Michael Kosciuszko
3: Martin Prokop
4: Khalid Al-Qassimi
5: Nasser Al-Attiyah
6: Andreas Mikkelsen
7: Thierry Neuville
8: Evgeny Novikov
9: Mikko Hirvonen
10: Mads Østberg
11: Jari-Matti Latvala
12: Sebastien Ogier
13: Dani Sordo


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Citroen Top Drivers lock out WRC-3

The WRC-3 category of Rally de Portugal is an exclusively Citroen affair, with all nine entrants driving the French manufacturer's DS3 R3T.

WRC-3 is a new FIA championship for 2013 that is open to two-wheel drive cars. Drivers must contest at least six events in the season, with the best five results counting towards their final championship points total.

Frenchman Sebastien Chardonnet (pictured) drove a Citroen DS3 R3T to victory on the opening round in Monte Carlo and with no drivers choosing to run in Sweden or Mexico his 25 points are the only ones on the championship table.

All that will change this weekend, however, when the first of six qualifying rounds of Citroën’s ‘Top Driver’ scheme brings eight more drivers to the party.

The field in Portugal includes a mixture of youth and experience. In the youth camp, 24-year old Chardonnet will do battle with Simone Campedelli (25), Federico Della Casa (21) and former WRC Academy front-runner Alastair Fisher (24).

Also in action will be national Citroën Racing Trophy winners Keith Cronin (26) and Quentin Gilbert (23), and the runner-up in last year’s German Rally championship, Christian Riedemann.

read more: wrc.com/news/wrc-3/


Young hot-shots readyfor Junior WRC kick-off

Ten of the world’s best young drivers will showcase their skills for the first time this season when the 2013 FIA Junior WRC Championship begins at Rally de Portugal tonight.

Ten of the world’s best young drivers will showcase their skills for the first time this season when the 2013 FIA Junior WRC Championship begins at Rally de Portugal tonight.

Drivers from eight different countries will compete in identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars in the first of six rounds, all of which support the FIA World Rally Championship.

The series, which has been upgraded from the FIA WRC Academy to full world title status, is regarded as the first opportunity for potential stars of the future to display their talent on the world stage.

Those crowned Junior WRC champion in the past include Sébastien Loeb, Dani Sordo and Sébastien Ogier.

The series comprises gravel events in Portugal, Greece and Finland, asphalt rounds in Germany and France and a mixed-surface rally in Spain to close the championship. Only drivers born on or after 1 January 1986 are eligible.

Three drivers - Yeray Lemes (ESP), José Suárez (ESP) and Pontus Tidemand (SWE) - contested the series in previous years. They will be joined by newcomers Sander Parn (EST), Martin Koèi (SVK), Andreas Amberg (FIN), Murat Bostanci (TUR), Michael Burri (CHE), Niko Nieminen (FIN) and Marius Aasen (NOR).

read more: wrc.com/news/junior-wrc-kick-off/


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
SS1: Ogier quickly off the mark

All the talk at the stage end concerned tyre choice. With no mid-leg service, drivers must tackle the entire day with the compounds they chose in the Estadio Algarve service park this morning.

The skies were clear and sunny, but damp roads after overnight rain and cool morning temperatures prompted big variations in choices. While some drivers opted for hard rubber, others selected a mix of soft and hard compounds.

Sebastien Ogier was bravest of all, selecting four soft and two hard tyres for his Volkswagen Polo R. With all four softs fitted he was unsurprisingly fastest by 4.0sec, but the Frenchman’s demeanour suggested he was unsure if soft rubber would be the right choice as the day progressed.

“We will see. I will give you the answer later in the day,” was as far as he would go.

Mads Ostberg was second in a Ford Fiesta RS, the Norwegian opting for five hard tyres.

“That wasn’t so bad,” he said. “It was more slippery than we thought but I think we did a good stage. It will start to get better for us on the next stage and hard tyres will give us an advantage when we repeat the stages, so we can afford to lose a little bit now.”

Mikko Hirvonen was third, 8.4sec behind Ogier, in a Citroen DS3 and the Finn was another who was unsure if his option of two hard tyres on the front and two softs on the rear was correct.

“Conditions were very changeable. Some parts were dry and some were greasy and slippery, but I’m really happy with the car,” he said.

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss1


SS2: Ostberg takes the lead

Mads Ostberg became the new leader in Portugal on Friday’s second stage, when a quickest time though Ourique earned him a 3.9sec advantage over Sebastien Ogier who slipped to second.

Friday’s second stage of the morning loop featured a drier and cleaner surface than the first, and as the mid-morning temperature reached 17 degrees Celsius the abrasive road became harder on tyres.

His Fiesta RS shod with hard compound Michelins all round, Ostberg admitted he was on the limit. “We are pushing very hard - perhaps too hard in places,” he said. “Okay, not too many close calls but I don’t think I can do much more. We are going quite well and I’m confident I can push on this limit for a long time.”

Dani Sordo got closest to Ostberg’s time, the Citroen DS3 driver completing the stage 3.5sec slower to move third in the overall standings. “I’m happier than I was after the one before and the car feels good but my driving could be better,” he said. “Some small mistakes and I’m not braking well. Ostberg is really fast.”

Sebastien Ogier was third quickest in his Polo R but at the stage end was again reluctant to give much away about his progress. “I don’t know, at the moment it’s not too bad,” he said.

The Frenchman had been struck down by a virus before the rally but denied this was any cause for concern. “I’m okay, no problems at all,” he added.

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss2



Mads Ostberg has crashed out of the lead of Rally de Portugal.

The Norwegian rolled his Ford Focus RS WRC on a left-hand corner 13 kilometres into today’s third test – the repeat of the 20-kilometre Mu stage.

The Qatar M-Sport World Rally team has confirmed that both Ostberg and his co-driver Jonas Andersson are uninjured.


SS3: Leader Ostberg rolls out

Rally de Portugal leader Mads Ostberg rolled into retirement shortly after the midpoint of the stage to hand the lead back to championship leader Sebastien Ogier.

The Norwegian crashed at a left corner after 13km but both Ostberg and Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson were uninjured.

A spokeswoman for the Qatar M-Sport team told wrc.com the accident happened at a corner that Ostberg had marked as a ‘four minus’ in his pace notes. However, he approached the corner a gear higher and the car rolled.

Tweeting from the accident scene, Ostberg said: “Feeling quite low right now.”

Dani Sordo was fastest, the Spaniard’s Citroen DS3 just 0.6sec quicker than Jari-Matti Latvala’s Volkswagen Polo R and climbing to second overall following Ostberg’s demise.

“I didn’t take a lot of risks because the road is really, really rough and you could destroy the car on every corner,” said Sordo. “I took it carefully because the rally is long and I also wanted to be a bit careful with my tyres.”

Latvala’s time was all the more impressive because he drove the stage with no split times for his rivals coming into the car. “I just tried to push with the big gear on!” explained the Finn.

Ogier was third fastest, 2.0sec behind Sordo, and he leads by 4.4sec. The Frenchman admitted that opting for soft tyres on his Polo R this morning was not an ideal choice as temperatures continued to rise and the road became rougher.

“It wasn’t the best option, but I did my best in here to save them. They will make the loop, but maybe it wasn’t the optimum choice. Mads was so fast. Honestly, in some places it was not possible to follow him,” explained Ogier.

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss3


SS4: Sordo turns up the pressure

A second consecutive stage win from Citroen’s Dani Sordo has moved him to within 2.4sec of Sebastien Ogier and the lead of Rally de Portugal.

Sordo was the last of the WRC crews to tackle the repeated Ourique, the final gravel stage of Friday’s leg, completing it 2sec quicker than Ogier, who he followed through.

“At the beginning Ogier was a little bit faster so after that we pushed more,” said the DS3 driver. “The stage felt nice to drive and I’m confident with the car – which is very important. The team has made the car better for me and it is really good.”

Ogier ended up fourth quickest in his Volkswagen Polo R, the Frenchman conceding that his choice of soft compound tyres for the rally’s opening four stages might not have been the best.

“Maybe it wasn’t perfectly right but I know I’m good at saving the tyres so that’s why I tried,” he said. “Maybe they will be perfect for the super special - we’ll see.”

Thierry Neuville was second quickest, despite ongoing issues with the set-up of his M-Sport Fiesta RS. “I haven’t made any changes yet and we have still a few things to do but I’m happy,” he said. “I’m pushing quite hard and the times are okay. There is still a bit of road cleaning.”

A revitalised Jari-Matti Latvala was third quickest, beating his Volkswagen team-mate Ogier by 0.2sec. “The feeling is honestly getting better and I enjoyed it,” said the Finn. “I know we can improve - especially with the suspension - and I’ve got some ideas for when we’re driving on the bedrock like on this stage. There is more to come with this car.”

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss4


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Ostberg: ‘I misheard pace note’

Mads Ostberg believes he misheard a pace note before crashing out of the lead of Rally de Portugal this afternoon.

The Norwegian held a 3.9sec advantage over championship leader Sebastien Ogier before rolling his Ford Fiesta RS into retirement on the third stage, a repeat of the Mu test which opened the event this morning.

Neither Ostberg nor co-driver Jonas Andersson were hurt and the Scandinavian duo hope to return tomorrow under Rally 2 rules if their car can be repaired. Crucially, Ostberg believes the car’s roll cage was not damaged.

“I think I misheard a pace note or Jonas made a mistake, but I think it was me that misheard the note,” explained Ostberg. “I thought it was a ‘5 left minus’ but it definitely wasn’t.

“I entered the corner far too quickly, hitting a bank on the outside. We rolled off the road on the inside and landed on the roof down on the next road. It was quite a hard crash. We landed on the roof but half a metre more and we would have continued further down, so it was good we stopped there,” he added.

Ostberg admitted the accident had brought further frustration after a troubled start to the season.

“Yes, it’s frustrating. At the beginning of the season we had technical problems and my frustration has been quite big. But this time I had a perfect car and I messed up.

“We pushed hard on SS2 and decided to back off a little bit on this stage to make sure we got through it. We knew we had an advantage so we tried to control it. It was just a communication problem. I did not push too hard and I wasn’t on the edge,” he added.

click: wrc.com/news/18454


Punctures force Kubica retirement

Robert Kubica's impressive opening day performance on Rally de Portugal has come to an end on the long road section to Friday’s final stage in Lisbon.

The former Formula 1 driver is making his gravel rally debut this weekend, contesting the WRC-2 class at the wheel of a four-wheel drive Citroen DS3 RRC.

He was placed second in the WRC-2 standings but after three punctures on the first four stages, and with only two spare tyres in his car, the Pole wasn’t able to complete the 206-kilometre drive to the Super Special in the Portuguese capital.

Kubica was forced to admit defeat 50 kilometres into the journey and parked his car in a motorway service area. It is not yet known if he will restart on Saturday.

Punctures aside, Kubica’s debut had been an impressive one. He was fourth quickest though Friday's opening test and went third fastest on the next despite sliding wide into a ditch, damaging a front tyre and holing his car’s radiator on a branch.

Kubica and co-driver Maciek Baran were able to seal the leaking radiator using repair putty carried on board before topping up the system with water from their drinking bottles.

Kubica was second quickest on stage three and again on four, but at the expense of another two flat tyres.

His performance on the four gravel stages drew praise from the head of Citroen Racing, Yves Matton.

“For me he did a great performance today,” said Matton. “Despite no experience on gravel apart from two test days he was placed between Esapekka Lappi and Elfyn Evans – two young drivers who are being followed by manufacturers for the future.”

Matton watched Kubica on all four gravel stages and was impressed with his approach. “His style is good – it’s very similar to the top drivers. He’s trying to drive where the grip is the best,” he said.

“Driving with a sideways style is a little bit easier on the gravel and would give him more security, but we explained that the best way to be fast is to keep on the line and try to keep the wheels where there is most traction. That’s what he’s doing and that’s very impressive.”

“For sure he had some punctures this morning but it’s something you have to learn,” he added.



1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·

WRC Friday Wrap:

Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier holds a slim 4.4sec lead over Dani Sordo at the end of a thrilling opening day of Rally de Portugal, the fourth round of the World Rally Championship.

Friday’s competition comprised four gravel stages in the Algarve and a spectacular street-based Super Special in the Portuguese capital Lisbon – all run consecutively without any service breaks.

Ogier took the lead in his Polo R WRC on the first stage and was the only WRC driver to fit a full set of Michelin’s soft-compound tyres that especially suited the cooler, slightly damp early conditions.

Things changed on the next stage however, when the temperature started to rise, the surface dried and Mads Ostberg stormed ahead, his Ford Fiesta RS shod with the hard-compound rubber.

But Ostberg’s lead proved short-lived and he crashed on the third stage when he misheard a pace note and rolled into retirement.

Ostberg’s misfortune moved Ogier back into the lead and promoted Citroen DS3 driver Dani Sordo – also on the hard compound tyres - into second.

After struggling to find a comfortable chassis set-up on the most recent round in Mexico, suspension modifications to Sordo’s car in Portugal proved a revelation. The Spaniard went quickest on both repeated gravel stages and edged ever closer to Ogier’s lead.

Jari-Matti Latvala is third, 11.4sec behind his Volkswagen team-mate Ogier and feeling more at home with the handling of his car after a frustrating time in Mexico.

Mikko Hirvonen is fourth, 16.2sec off the lead in his Citroen DS3. The Finn found his car’s suspension too stiff for Friday’s stage conditions but with no service he was stuck with the set-up all day.

Thierry Neuville was similarly hamstrung with a less than ideal set-up on his Fiesta RS. The Belgian ended the day fifth, 14.5sec behind Hirvonen.

A 46sec gap separates the top five from Fiesta RS driver Evgeny Novikov in sixth. A further minute back Nasser Al-Attiyah is seventh in another Fiesta.

read more:wrc.com/news/Friday Wrap


WRC-2 Friday Wrap

Finnish hot-shot Esapekka Lappi was fastest on all five stages to lead the WRC-2 category in a Skoda Fabia S2000 by 30.1sec after today’s opening leg of Rally de Portugal.

But impressive as his performance was, Robert Kubica stole the plaudits. The ex-Formula 1 driver was second in a Citroen DS3 RRC on his first gravel rally before retiring en route to the final stage in Lisbon.

Lappi, who won every round of the Finnish Championship last year, was fastest on the opening stage by just one-tenth of a second from championship leader Sepp Wiegand, despite feeling uncomfortable with his pace notes.

Lappi built his advantage to 18.8sec over the next two stages before Wiegand slipped back and Kubica became his closest challenger. When the Pole was sidelined, 2011 FIA WRC Academy champion Elfyn Evans moved into second in a Ford Fiesta RRC.

Wiegand looked set to complete the overnight podium but the German hit a wall at the opening corner of the Lisbon stage and dropped almost 1min 30sec as he stopped to change a damaged wheel. Edoardo Bresolin inherited third, 1min 50.2sec behind Lappi.

Kubica was quickly into the groove on gravel with fourth fastest in the opening stage. However, he feared his rally could be over on the next test when a branch pierced his radiator and he completed the stage with water leaking from the engine.

read more: wrc.com/news/wrc-2 friday wrap


WRC-3 Friday Wrap:

Triple British champion Keith Cronin headed the WRC-3 category after today's opening leg of Rally de Portugal.

Irishman Cronin holds a 3.3sec advantage over Northern Ireland’s Alastair Fisher (pictured). Sebastien Chardonnet lies third, 6.6sec behind Cronin, all three drivers at the wheel of Citroen DS3 R3Ts.

Fisher won the opening stage, but Cronin was fastest on the next. Chardonnet claimed the third stage but Cronin was again quicker than Fisher to reduce the margin between the two to 11.3sec.

Cronin won the final all-gravel stage and moved to the head of the pack when Fisher damaged his suspension shortly before the finish and lost 15sec.

It promoted Cronin into a 3.2sec lead, but Fisher repaired the suspension on the following road section and the pair continued their battle on the final test in Lisbon, where the two were separated by just one-tenth of a second.

read more: wrc.com/news/wrc-3 friday wrap


Junior WRC Friday Wrap:

Pontus Tidemand completed the opening day of the FIA Junior WRC Championship season with a strong lead in Rally de Portugal.

The young Swede won three of the five special stages in his Ford Fiesta R2 to build a 27.0sec lead over Jose Suarez. Marius Aasen won the other two tests and the Norwegian lies third, 32.8sec behind his fellow Scandinavian.

“We had a very good day, despite starting with a little trouble on SS1 where we caught two cars in front of us. Otherwise everything worked well and our Ford Fiesta R2 stayed in perfect condition,” said Tidemand.

Drivers from eight different countries are competing in identical Fiesta R2s in the first of six rounds, all of which support the FIA World Rally Championship

read more: wrc.com/news/junior wrc friday wrap


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

SS6: Sordo out

The scene was set for a thrilling duel between Dani Sordo and Sebastien Ogier on Saturday’s second leg of Rally de Portugal but in the event Sordo’s challenge ground to a halt 19km into the opening test.

Sordo began the stage trailing overnight leader Ogier by 4.4sec, and at the 17km split point he was 3.1sec quicker than the Frenchman.

Two kilometres later however Sordo went off, damaging the right-hand rear corner of the Citroën DS3. He parked it by the roadside shortly after.

Ogier completed the stage cleanly in his Polo R but despite the exit of his closest rival he arrived at the finish control looking agitated.

“That was difficult, not easy for anyone,” he said. “My lead is by no means strong because Jari is quite close and the car is not working perfectly.” Ogier left for the next stage without explaining what the problem was.

Latvala was the stage winner, with a time 1.1sec better than Ogier’s. Now second courtesy of Sordo’s exit, the Finn trailed his Volkswagen team-mate by 10.3sec in the overall standings. “We went wide a few times near the beginning but okay, we got through all clear and we had no big problems,” he said.

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss6


SS7: Two out of two for Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala claimed his second consecutive stage win in a Volkswagen Polo R when he edged out team-mate and rally leader Sebastien Ogier by two-tenths of a second.

Latvala’s induction into the Polo R this season has not been easy and while the Finn sounds happier this morning, his comments at the finish were perhaps telling about his state of mind.

Asked if he was comparing his times with his French team-mate, Latvala revealed: “We’re concentrating on Mikko behind us at the moment. I’m not thinking about Ogier. It would be nice to fight against him but now is not the right time.”

Although Ogier looked cool, calm and collected, the virus which has made him feel so ill for the last two weeks is making life tough.

“I’m trying to drive fast but when the stages are long it’s not easy. I have to find the energy to drive. It’s not an easy rally for me,” said the 29-year-old, whose lead over his colleague stands at 10.1sec.

Mikko Hirvonen was fastest at the third split point after almost 15km in a Citroen DS3, but slipped back in the final 10km and completed 3.0sec slower than Ogier.

He was at a loss as to why he had dropped time but explained that he focused on keeping his driving neat. “If I pushed harder I would have become untidy and lost more time,” he said.

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss7


SS8: Exhausted Ogier leads

Sebastien Ogier emerged from Saturday morning’s loop of stages with his lead of Rally de Portugal intact but feeling the effects of the virus that forced him out of the Fafe Rally Sprint last week.

The Frenchman, who leads the drivers’ championship, was quickest through the Loule test [SS8] and headed back to service with an advantage of 14.1sec over his Volkswagen Motorsport team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

Mikko Hirvonen is third, the Citroen DS3 driver 23.1sec further back in third.

Ogier began the day with his lead under threat from a hard-charging Dani Sordo. But after the Citroen driver crashed out on today’s opener, Ogier was left battling his team-mate Latvala and his own health.

“It’s been tough because after about 10km on each stage I get low on energy and I really have to fight. It’s not easy for me,” he said.

Latvala, in contrast, enjoyed an excellent morning in the second Polo R. The Finn won two stages and seemed happier behind the wheel than at any point so far this season.

On completing SS8 in the second quickest time, a confident Latvala said: “A pretty good stage, to be honest. The mid-section was really, really fast and I tried to push there. The fast stuff appears to suit us well. My tyres now are very on the limit, though.”

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss8


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
SS9: Polos lead the way

The first of the repeated stages from this morning was rocky and abrasive. All the top drivers were adequately prepared with six hard compound tyres on board, with the exception of Evgeny Novikov, who opted for just one spare.

Sebastien Ogier mastered the conditions better than anyone to take fastest time by 4.6sec from Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. Although Latvala was quickest early in the stage, Ogier came into his own in the second part to extend his lead to 18.7sec.

“We changed the set-up in service and it feels a bit better. Not perfect, but a bit better,” said the Frenchman.

Latvala remains focused on third-placed Mikko Hirvonen rather than his team-mate.

“It’s an interesting battle with Mikko,” said Latvala. “He has six new tyres and we have four new and two used. So Mikko is probably taking it easy here and then he will attack on the next one. I tried to save the tyres but didn’t want to back off too much because I know he will attack.”

Hirvonen ceded another 10.5sec to his fellow Finn and there was no mistaking the effort he had put in. “It’s really, really hot and I’m sure it’s tough for the tyres. They were moving a lot. I don’t think they are destroyed, but it was hard for them. I have new tyres in the back and I think I will need them,” explained the Citroen DS3 pilot.

Mads Ostberg was fourth in his Fiesta RS, 18.3sec slower than Ogier. With nothing to lose following yesterday’s roll, he admitted he was ‘on a mission’. “It’s very rough and hard for the car and the tyres. We talked about it before the stage and we just decided to go and see how long the tyres last,” said the Norwegian.

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss9


SS10: VW pair maintain their grip

Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala extended their perfect stage winning record on day two of Rally de Portugal, taking another 1-2 for Volkswagen on the repeated Vascao test.

Ogier was quickest, to extend his rally lead to 22.3sec. And with just one more gravel stage to run today, the Frenchman indicated that he was finally on top of his illness. “Physically I‘ve given everything I have but it’s going better and better. I’m okay,” he said.

Latava, second overall in another Polo R, pulled 5.9sec further ahead of Mikko Hirvonen, who had fitted two new tyres to his Citroen in a bid to catch him.

“I saw Mikko had some brand new tyres but I want to keep mine for tomorrow,” said Latvala. “Actually the road was clean and surprisingly good to drive with my used tyres. I tried to concentrate on the surface and to be as smooth as possible on the braking.”

Hirvonen completed the stage before Latvala, and acknowledged at the finish that he was unlikely to take any time from his former team-mate. Heading to the day's final stage, Hirvonen trails Latvala by 39sec.

Evgeny Novikov remains fourth, almost three minutes behind Hirvonen, but the Russian looked worried when he brought his Fiesta RS to the finish control.

“We have a problem, I think something is wrong with the suspension and the steering is not straight,” he said. “It happened near the end. I hope it’s nothing too bad so I’ll try and fix it now.”

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss10




WRC Saturday wrap:

Sebastien Ogier ended today’s second leg of Rally de Portugal with a comfortable 34.8sec lead over Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

The Polo R drivers dominated this longest leg of the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Latvala won the opening two stages before Ogier claimed the remaining four tests.

Higher temperatures and rocky gravel roads in the hills above the Algarve made the going tough. Conditions were at their worst this afternoon when the morning stages were repeated and drivers had to manage their tyres on roads worn to the bedrock.

Ogier was still handicapped by the virus which has affected him for the past two weeks. “I started to feel a bit better this afternoon,” he said. “I think I saved my tyres better than the others. It was a good day but tomorrow has two long stages so it’s going to be tough as well.”

Ogier’s closest challenger yesterday was Dani Sordo but the Spaniard retired his Citroen DS3 on today’s opening stage. “I misunderstood a pace note. After a small crest the car slid wide onto the loose. At the end of the corner was a small tree and we hit it with the rear wheel which broke,” he said.

Latvala climbed to second, getting to grips with the Polo R for the first time this season. “It’s the first day this year when I have been smiling,” said the Finn, whose only problem was a slow puncture at the end of the last stage.

Mikko Hirvonen completes the podium places in a Citroen DS3, 1min 08.5sec behind Ogier. “It was so rough and so hot that the tyres were at their limit this afternoon. I don’t have any new tyres for either of tomorrow’s loops so that will slow me,” he said.

read more: wrc.com/ saturday wrap


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WRC-3 Day 2 wrap:

A deep river crossing turned the WRC-3 category in Rally de Portugal upside down this morning when the water ended the victory hopes of the drivers who filled the top two places last night.

The Citroen DS3 R3Ts of Keith Cronin and Alastair Fisher both stopped in the 100 metre-long crossing in SS7 when their cars ingested water. While Fisher restarted after an 18-minute delay, category leader Cronin retired.

Experienced Bryan Bouffier survived unscathed and put all his knowledge to good use to climb from fourth to lead by 7min 49.6sec in a DS3 R3T after the second leg of the three-day rally.

“My friends had some problems and we still have 145kms to go so we have to be very careful,” said Bouffier. “I used my head today, but it’s not an easy thing for a driver to listen to his head!”

Sebastien Chardonnet lies second in another DS3 R3T, despite going off the road in SS8 and dropping more than six minutes.

Francesco Parli holds third, more than 13 minutes from the lead, with Quentin Gilbert in fourth and the only other driver to complete the full day. He is almost 22 minutes behind Bouffier.

Gilbert and Simone Campedelli were also trapped by the river, Gilbert dropping 17 minutes and Campedelli retiring.

Fisher later suffered gearbox problems before his day finally ended when a suspected starter motor problem meant he could not restart his car when it stopped at the same river crossing on this afternoon’s second pass.

click: wrc.com/news/wrc-3 sat wrap


WRC-2 Day 2 wrap:

Esapekka Lappi continued to dominate the WRC-2 category in Rally de Portugal by winning all six stages today to extend his lead to more than four minutes in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

The young Finn has won all 11 stages so far and such is his pace that he lies eighth overall.

“It’s a shame that many of the fastest guys had problems but we had a perfect day. No punctures and no problems,” said Lappi.

Elfyn Evans, second after the opening day, retired his Fiesta RRC with transmission problems in the opening stage. Third-placed Edoardo Bresolin was sidelined on this morning’s final test when he went off and damaged his Ford Fiesta RRC’s suspension.

It left Robert Barrable in second, but the Irishman changed a rear right puncture on his Ford Fiesta S2000 in the final stage after running wide. He dropped 2min 30sec and lies third, 8min 44.4sec behind Lappi.

The beneficiary was Sepp Wiegand who completed a fine recovery after damaging a wheel in last night’s Lisbon street test to regain second in his Skoda Fabia S2000, despite intercom problems in the opening test.

Oleksii Kikireshko’s retirement in this afternoon’s opening stage, when the Ukrainian crashed his Mini JCW S2000 into a ditch, allowed Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs to climb to fourth in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.

It proved another frustrating day for Robert Kubica in his Citroen DS3 RRC. A hydraulic issue meant the paddle shift, that he has dispensation to use because of his hand injury, failed this morning. He had to use the manual gear lever with his weaker right hand.

The problem recurred this afternoon and when the technical issues became too much, the Pole stopped 700 metres after the start of the final stage.

click: wrc.com/news/wrc-2 sat wrap


Junior WRC Day 2 wrap:

Sweden's Pontus Tidemand won the opening round of the 2013 FIA Junior WRC Championship at Rally de Portugal today in a Ford Fiesta R2.

He took the lead on yesterday’s second stage and never looked back, clocking five stage wins as he came home 2min 26.9sec ahead of Spain’s Jose Suarez.

“It was a very rough and tough rally but I’m really glad we scooped our first victory in the Junior WRC,” said Tidemand. “I’m really happy with the result considering that the competition is really high this year. We’ll now focus on preparing for the Acropolis Rally and we hope to get an equally good result there.”

Suarez won two stages, but lost 1min 40sec with a puncture on the final stage.

Canary Islander Yeray Lemes took the last podium place, showing strong speed today to make up time lost on the first stage after a rear right puncture. He climbed from eighth to third and won two stages in the process.

Finland’s Andreas Amberg was fourth after a consistent performance on only his second WRC event. With only two new tyres left for this afternoon’s loop, he nursed his Fiesta R2 to the finish.

Martin Koci was fifth, ahead of Norwegian Marius Aasen, who was the early leader before suffering brake problems throughout the opening day. He damaged the rear axle of his Fiesta R2 this morning, but made it back to the Faro finish.

Turkish driver Murat Bostanci retired on SS7 after hitting a wall and rolling, while Michel Burri went off in the same stage and was unable to continue.

click: wrc.com/jwrc/news/junior wrc sat wrap


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·

SS12: Ogier and Latvala hit problems

Both rally leader Sebastien Ogier and second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala encountered problems with their Volkswagen Polo Rs during a dramatic opening to the third and final leg of Rally de Portugal this morning.

Ogier dropped 35sec and Latvala ceded more than 1min 15sec as Mikko Hirvonen suddenly found himself within striking distance of the lead in his Citroen DS3.

Ogier restarted with a 34.8sec lead over his team-mate, but completed the test with the hazard warning lights flashing.

“I have a problem with the car. I do not want to tell you,” said the tight-lipped Frenchman when quizzed at the finish.

WRC-2 category leader Esapekka Lappi, who is immediately behind Ogier in the running order, said the Volkswagen pilot was working on the car before the start and it appeared it only had two-wheel drive as he left the start line.

Ogier stopped on the road section to work on the car. “It wasn’t working at the beginning but after 10km everything was working again and we finished the stage normally. For me it’s not a driveshaft or a differential,” said Ogier, before suggesting the problem could be clutch related.

Latvala was more forthcoming at the stage end. “At the first corner something broke in the transmission. I don’t know what it is but it feels like a driveshaft.”

He also stopped on the road section to work on the car and added: “The car suddenly lost drive on a left-hand corner. I carried on in two-wheel drive. It looks like the front differential exploded. It’s never happened before,” said the distraught Finn.

Asked whether he could make it through the following test, he said: “I have to.”

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss12


SS13: Ogier breathes a sigh of relief

His Polo R seemingly back to full strength, Sebastien Ogier made the perfect recovery after his earlier problems, going second-fastest through the marathon Almodovar to extend his rally lead.

Heading to the midpoint service break - and a team of relieved Volkswagen Motorsport technicians - the Frenchman holds a 49.3 second advantage over Mikko Hirvonen who is second in a Citroen DS3.

“Everything seemed okay but I was very careful in there,” said Ogier. “I was very smooth with the amount of torque I put on the clutch. At the start I just crossed my fingers and then did my job.”

His co-driver Julien Ingrassia later added: “Before the start we warmed the clutch up. At the beginning it wasn’t working so well but then it started to work okay for the rest of the stage. Sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re not.”

Hirvonen was closest to Ogier’s pace, but the Finn was unable to mount a flat out attack on the lead.

“He was back up to a steady pace and I still needed to be so careful on my tyres,” said Hirvonen. “My rears were so worn even at the start. We’ll have to do the same on the repeat even though we’ll have better tyres. It’s going to be hard.”

Jari-Matti Latvala dropped 3m03s as he steered his Polo R through the stage with just rear-wheel drive. The heroic performance was enough to keep him third overall, 41.4sec ahead of Evgeny Novikov in fourth.

“I’d like to see how my time compared to the two-wheel drive cars,” Latvala grinned at the stage end. “At least we are still fighting for third. I’m looking forward to getting the car fixed now.”

read more: wrc.com/news/portugal ss13


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SS14: Ostberg’s hat-trick

Many drivers’ thoughts were already focused on the final test, the Power Stage, with bonus points available for the fastest three drivers. As such they were looking after their tyres to ensure they were in the best condition for the marathon 52.30km stage.

Not that such things deterred Mads Ostberg, who claimed his third fastest time of the day in a Ford Fiesta RS. He was 2.8sec faster than Jari-Matti Latvala’s Volkswagen Polo R, now restored to full health, and 5.1sec clear of the tying Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Ogier.

“I backed off a little on this one to look after the tyres a little bit. We will put two new tyres on the front for the last stage and I will push as hard as I can,” said 25-year-old Ostberg.

Latvala’s problem this morning that cost him second overall was traced to a broken front driveshaft and the 28-year-old Finn paid tribute to the work done by the Volkswagen mechanics.

“There were a lot of things to change. All the suspension corners, the gearbox and some other stuff too. They did a good job and it’s working well now,” he said.

Ogier was in a cautious frame of mind in his Polo R after this morning’s scare, which was finally diagnosed as a rear differential issue. The Frenchman claimed he had no desire to fight for Power Stage points.

“No, I just want to cross the finish line,” he said. “That’s my only goal. The Power Stage is a long one and we’ve had enough problems with the car so I want to save it. I won’t try, not this time.”

The Fiesta RS cars of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Evgeny Novikov were fifth and sixth as all the drivers headed off to switch their tyres around, fit new rubber from the back of their cars and plan their strategy for the Power Stage.

click: wrc.com/news/portugal ss14


Power Stage SS15


BREAKING NEWS: Ogier wins in Portugal

Sebastien Ogier has claimed his third win of the World Rally Championship season on Rally de Portugal, which ended in the Algarve this afternoon.

The Frenchman overcame a final day technical scare with his Volkswagen Polo R to complete the rally 58.2sec ahead of Mikko Hirvonen in a Citroen DS3.

Ogier’s Volkswagen Motorsport team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala finished third, 3m06.3s behind Hirvonen.

Ogier collected an extra three drivers’ points by also winning the SS15 Power Stage, which brought the action on round four of the World Rally Championship to a close.

Mads Ostberg scored two bonus points in his Ford Fiesta RS with Latvala claiming the final point with the third best run in his Polo R.

click: wrc.com/breaking news


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
WRC Sunday wrap:

Ogier nets hat-trick

Victory on Rally de Portugal today made it three wins from three rallies for Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sebastien Ogier.

The Frenchman, 29, took the lead of the Algarve-based event on Friday’s third test, after early leader Mads Ostberg crashed his Ford Fiesta RS.

Ogier, and co-driver Julien Ingrassia, went on to win by 58.2sec from Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team driver Mikko Hirvonen in a Citroen DS3.

The result extended Ogier's lead in the FIA Drivers’ Championship and he now has 102 points, 54 ahead of Hirvonen in second.

Today’s win was the ninth at World Rally Championship level for Ogier, who has won the Portuguese round twice before with Citroen in 2010 and 2011.

To do it this time however he had to overcome an energy-sapping virus and a transmission problem on Sunday morning that almost cost him the lead.

At the end of the rally-closing Power Stage, having earned another three bonus championship points, Ogier was understandably relieved.

“It’s a perfect result but this week has been really complicated for us,” he said. “I came here on Monday and wasn’t even sure I would be able to do the rally - I was completely kaput.

“The team has done a good job because this was a very rough rally and we have had many small problems. They managed to fix the car all the time so big congratulations to them.“

“Today was more than stressful for me, and at the start of the first one I thought the rally was over because the clutch was slipping. Finally it came back. It was a kind of miracle,” he added.

Volkswagen began Sunday’s competition on course for a 1-2 finish, with Jari-Matti Latvala second in another Polo R. But like Ogier, Latvala also hit trouble on the opening stage. A broken driveshaft cost the Finn more than four minutes and he lost his place to Hirvonen.

“It’s been a tough day and a tough rally,” said Hirvonen. “A podium is okay but I wasn’t happy with my pace this weekend. We weren’t fast enough so we must keep working to try and improve.”

His car fixed at the midpoint service, Latvala went on to finish 3m06s behind Hirvonen. He rounded off the rally with a bonus point on the Power Stage and was delighted by his new-found confidence in the Polo R.

“Third place is my first podium with Volkswagen so I’m happy with that,” said Latvala. “I had a really good run in the Power Stage and I’m feeling pretty satisfied with the rally.

“So far this year I think I have been in taxi mode. This weekend I decided to force myself to start delivering results. From Argentina onwards I hope to be right there, fighting for victories” he added.

read more: wrc.com/news/sun wrap


WRC-2 wrap: Easy win for Lappi

Esapekka Lappi cruised to victory in the WRC-2 category at Rally de Portugal today by the massive margin of 11min 36.5sec in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

After winning every stage in the opening two legs, the young Finn eased his pace today. But having restarted with a lead of over four minutes, his advantage soared as second-placed Sepp Wiegand encountered problems.

The German dropped nearly 10 minutes in SS13 when his Fabia’s gearbox jammed and he could not select a gear. It promoted Robert Barrable back to second in a Ford Fiesta RRC, with Wiegand in third, more than 15 minutes behind Lappi.

The consolation for Wiegand was that he retains the championship lead.

The result made up for a disappointing start to the season for Lappi, who retired on only the second stage of Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

“An almost perfect weekend – those are the words to describe it!” he said. “I had a few problems today with the car but the team fixed it. I think we did a good job. Monte-Carlo was a big disappointment but we’ve covered that and moved on.”

Barrable’s only problem was a puncture yesterday afternoon and the Irishman was delighted with his maiden appearance in the category.

“I thought a result like this would be way out of perspective, but I kept my head clean. We were nice and comfortable and only made one mistake all weekend, which is really good considering how tough the stages were,” he said.

Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs finished fourth in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X ahead of Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, the winner at the previous round in Mexico, in a Fiesta RRC and Robert Kubica’s Citroen DS3 RRC.

Kubica’s WRC debut generated huge interest and the Pole was second before retiring from the first leg when he ran out of tyres after a string of punctures. He was sidelined again yesterday with hydraulic problems, which affected the paddle shift gear change, for which he has special dispensation to use because of his hand injury.

2012 FIA Academy winner Elfyn Evans retired his Fiesta RRC from second yesterday morning, but returned today under Rally 2 rules and won all four stages.

click: wrc.com/wrc-2 sun wrap


1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
WRC-3 wrap: Bouffier wins

Bryan Bouffier put his experience to good use to win the WRC-3 category at Rally de Portugal today despite a nervous final few kilometres.

It became a battle for survival for the nine Citroen DS3 R3T drivers over the gravel special stages in the hills above the Algarve. The Frenchman, a former winner of the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo, outlasted his rivals to win by 10min 06.6sec.

However, Bouffier emerged from the final 52.30km Almodovar stage with a worried look on his face after suffering a transmission problem. Fortunately he completed the 56km road section back to the Faro service park where he was able to enjoy the champagne.

Sebastien Chardonnet finished second to retain the championship lead with Quentin Gilbert in third, 25min 51.3sec behind Bouffier.

After a close opening day, a deep river turned the positions upside down yesterday morning when leader Keith Cronin and second-placed Alastair Fisher both stopped in the 100 metre-long crossing when their cars ingested water. While Fisher restarted after an 18-minute delay, category leader Cronin retired.

Bouffier moved to the front and measured his pace for the rest of the event.

Chardonnet dropped more than six minutes after going off the road yesterday, while Gilbert was another to be delayed by the water, losing 17 minutes.

Fisher eventually came home fourth while Cronin restarted to take fifth. Simone Campedelli, another to retire in the infamous river, completed the finishers in sixth.

click: wrc.com/wrc 3 sun wrap


Next Rnd 5 Philips Rally Argentina May 1-4

Philips Rally Argentina, which first hosted a round of the World Rally Championship in 1980, is regarded as one of the toughest events on the WRC trail.

Based in Villa Carlos Paz north of the capital Buenos Aires, the town lies on the banks of the spectacular San Roque Lake in the south of the Punilla Valley close to the city of Cordoba.

The event is popularised by its jumps, water splashes and the lunar landscape of the high altitude El Condor stage, not to mention the tens of thousands of fans who line the route, and who are considered some of the most enthusiastic on the planet.

Although they are flowing in nature, the stages in Argentina are renowned for being slightly slower but more technically demanding than some of the other tests drivers experience in the WRC.

The surface is also quite sandy, which increases the risk of punctures because of a greater likelihood of rocks being pulled into the road by the competing cars. Because the road surface is softer, ruts can form following the first pass.

Argentina’s Southern Hemisphere location means the rally will take place in early autumn, which will increase the challenge facing the crews as they negotiate the testing terrain in colder and wetter conditions.

Official Website: rallyargentina.com/en/


22 Posts
my favorite quote from the rally "We are only allocated 40 tires per a car for the event."
Ah the terrible trials of the WRC teams I just don't know how they do it! LOL!
Thanks for posting the video's Adam!
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