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This is a discussion on WRC Portugal May27-30 talk/results spoiler** within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Next Round: WRC Portugal May 27-30, 2010 Official Website: rallydeportugal.pt/ The 'new' Rally Portugal features a base in the Algarve ...

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    Cool WRC Portugal May27-30 talk/results spoiler**

    Next Round: WRC Portugal May 27-30, 2010



    Official Website: rallydeportugal.pt/

    The 'new' Rally Portugal features a base in the Algarve Stadium - which also hosts a Super Special stage - and a spectacular selection of gravel stages in the Algarve and Alentejo regions to the north.

    This year's event builds on that successful theme. The Algarve Stadium plays host to the Service Park and the Super Special, while a few tweaks to the route will keep the drivers on their toes.

    New for 2010

    A refresh for much of the 2009 route. The biggest chance concerns the Santa Clara stage, which is now run in reverse, while most of the rally's other stages feature new starts or finishes.


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    Block gains a new co-driver for Portugal test



    Monster World Rally Team driver Ken Block has been boosted by a short test prior to the Vodafone Rally de Portugal, during which former Ford factory driver Markko Martin sat in with him to give him a few hints and tips.

    Block completed 70 kilometres at the wheel of the Ford Focus RS WRC on Monday, using gravel roads that were representative of those he will face over the weekend. It was the first time that the American had driven the Focus since the Rally of Turkey more than one month ago.

    Block concentrated on suspension set-up work and also his driving style with the help of Martin. The Estonian, who drove for Ford from 2002 to 2004, has tested for the team on a regular basis but was sitting in with Block for the first time.

    Monster World Rally Team manager Derek Dauncey said: “One of our biggest challenges this year has been getting Ken and Alex sufficient seat time in the Ford Focus, which made yesterday’s test crucial for us. It was the first time that Ken has actually been able to give input during a test on suspension changes and mapping options. The result is a car more fine-tuned for Ken’s driving style. In addition to making changes to the vehicle, we also brought ex-Ford WRC driver Markko Martin in to sit with Ken to provide advice on driving technique. Overall it was a very productive test and we look forward to seeing it pay off this weekend at Rally Portugal.”

    Block has shown promising speed on both the World Rally Championship events he has contested so far, in Mexico and in Turkey, running in the top 10 on his debut. However, he has admitted that lack of testing has so far proved to be his biggest barrier to making progress.

    “That’s been the biggest problem,” he said after Turkey. “Hopefully, with more time in the car, things will get a little easier for us.”

    Click: www.wrc.com/=Block+gains+a+new+co-driver+for+Portugal+test

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    Ogier fastest in Rally Portugal Shakedown



    One of the stars of this year's Rally New Zealand, Sebastien Ogier, was the fastest driver at the pre-event shakedown for Vodafone Rally de Portugal earlier today, with former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg his closest rival.

    The four hour test - a prelude to this weekend's rally - took place on a 5.03km gravel road at Vale de Judeu, 12km from the main Service Park near Faro. The same piece of road was used for Shakedown in 2009. Weather conditions were dry and sunny throughout, with a temperature peaking at 23 degrees Celsius.

    "I know Shakedown isn't important to the real rally but it's good for the confidence to be fastest and we have a lot of confidence now," said Ogier. "I found the car very good, like usual, and although we tried a couple of different set-ups we've ended up sticking with our usual one - there's nothing new. The road was slippery and cleaning a lot; more than the proper stages I think. I was 16 seconds faster though on my fourth pass compared to my first - that's more than three seconds per kilometre - so you can see the effect."

    Fellow Citroen C4 WRC driver Petter Solberg was closest to Ogier's time, stopping the clock 1.3sec later, while Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb was third. "It's a challenging stage; maybe the most difficult of the rally!" said Loeb, "The surface is loose and abrasive, just like the actual stages, but the road is very fast and narrow. We tried out a few suspension adjustments but nothing major. Everything was fine."

    Shakedown times of the leading WRC drivers:

    1. OGIER. Citroen C4 WRC. 3:05.0
    2. P. SOLBERG. Citroen C4 WRC. 3:06.3
    3. LOEB. Citroen C4 WRC. 3:07.3
    4. SORDO. Citroen C4 WRC. 3:07.9
    5. HIRVONEN. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 3:08.0
    6. LATVALA. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 3:08.4
    7. H. SOLBERG. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 3:09.2
    8. RAIKKONEN. Citroen C4 WRC. 3:10.0
    9. VILLAGRA. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 3:11.1
    10. WILSON. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 3:12.1
    11. Al QASSIMI. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 3:12.2
    12. BLOCK. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 3:15.7

    Click: wrc.com/portugal/shakedown

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    Portugal – Pre-event press conference

    Drivers: Jari-Matti Latvala (BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Sebastien Ogier (Citroen Junior Team), Ken Block (Monster World Rally Team), Dani Sordo (Citroen Total World Rally Team)


    Press conference:

    Q:
    Jari-Matti, the win in New Zealand now puts you in second position in the Championship overall, your consistent formula paid off there; will you adopt the same approach here?

    Jari-Matti Latvala:
    It was a very special moment. But it was also the battle how we got it, those last three corners made the result: when Ogier made his mistake. At that moment, I didn't know at the end. It was a big confusion. But it was also good because we won it by not being fastest on any of the stages. It was special and nice for the team with the 75th win. But now we are in Portugal and New Zealand is history.

    Q:
    What's your approach going to be here?

    Jari-Matti Latvala:
    I try to keep going, that's the plan to keep the consistent driving.

    Q:
    Portugal 2009 was the scene of the biggest accident of your career, the same stage remains for 2010. Was there any trepidation when you went through there on the recce and how much have you adjusted the notes from that section last year?

    Jari-Matti Latvala:
    The stage will be run the same as last year, okay towards the end there are some changes, but that area is the same. I did some work with the notes. The distances [in the notes] were incorrect, especially in that place the distance was wrong. That was one of reasons I go off the road. We slowed down there and had a look. It looked even more narrow than last year and very nasty. It's very well marked in the notes now.

    Q:
    We are in Portugal a little later in the season than in previous years; the temperatures are higher so what difference will that make in terms of tyres this year?

    Jari-Matti Latvala:
    I think the tyres could be an issue on Saturday afternoon. We need to be careful; when you want to push you need to remember how this is going to use the tyres. You need to find the balance – that's a very important part of this rally.

    More Click: crash.net/pre-event/press/conferecne


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    SS1: Hirvonen takes the early lead in Portugal



    Mikko Hirvonen moved into an early lead of the 2010 Vodafone Rally de Portugal after setting the fastest time on Thursday evening’s Algarve Stadium Superspecial.

    The Ford Focus RS WRC driver completed the 2km head-to-head test in 2min 9.3sec, winning his heat with Sebastien Loeb and completing the stage one-tenth of a second quicker than Munchi’s team driver Federico Villagra who was his closest rival.

    Sweeping hairpin bends, tight and tricky corners and a table-top jump made the test a challenge for the 62 starters, as well as dazzling viewing for both the fans and TV viewers across the country who watched the action live on television.

    Thousands crammed into the football stadium to watch the night time stage, and most were on their feet as Hirvonen crossed the line, a Portuguese flag trailing from his car.

    "It’s a great way to start the rally!" said Hirvonen. "Okay, it’s only a short stage but it’s always really nice to win - and a big pleasure to beat Sebastien! Tomorrow is when the real action starts, though.”

    The first section of the rally continues on Friday when drivers leave Faro from 0810hrs to tackle six gravel stages in the hills north of the town.

    Click: wrc.com/Portugal_SS1



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    World Rally Championship reaches out to Androids

    Eight weeks after the launch of the Official World Rally Championship iPhone application, series promoter North One Sport has unveiled another free app, this time for users of Android mobile devices.

    The Official WRC Android App features the same comprehensive results information found on wrc.com and, like the iPhone app, is fed by live timing data beamed directly from the cars and time controls.

    As well as stage times for each car, users will have access to a wide range of other data including split times, entry lists, timetables, start lists, retirement lists and penalty tables.

    The app also enables mobile access to the latest WRC news stories, exclusive videos and live audio commentary via World Rally Radio.

    A wide-ranging selection of background information includes season calendars, maps, FIA championship standings and fact sheets on teams, drivers and rallies. In common with wrc.com, all written information is available in English, French and Spanish languages.

    The app can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace.

    Another free app for Blackberry devices is in development and will be available later this year.
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    SS2: Sordo takes the lead



    Citroen factory team driver Dani Sordo was fastest through Friday's opening stage in Portugal to move three places up the overnight leaderboard into the rally lead.

    Headed by Sordo, Citroen C4's locked out the top three times through Santa Clara, with Junior team driver Sebastien Ogier his closest rival and world champion Sebastien Loeb third fastest.

    Overnight leader Mikko Hirvonen slipped to third after going fourth-fastest in his Ford Focus WRC.

    Henning Solberg reported a power steering problem with his Ford Focus WRC, while Ken Block dropped almost minute to the leaders after misunderstanding a pace note.




    ---------------------------------------

    SS3: Sebastien Ogier the pace-setter



    Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier was the fastest man through Friday's second stage in Portugal, narrowing the gap on rally leader Dani Sordo to 1.3sec.

    Sordo was second quickest, completing the 20.21km Ourique test just 0.7sec slower than Ogier, while C4 privateer Petter Solberg was third fastest to move up to third overall, 10.6 behind the lead pair.



    -----------------------------------------

    SS4: Ogier leads at Friday midpoint

    Another fastest time for Sebastien Ogier on SS4 moved the Frenchman into the rally lead at Friday's midpoint.

    Ogier completed the Silves stage 3.1sec quicker than Dani Sordo to pull 1.8sec clear at the head of the standings. Once again Sordo was his closest rival through the stage, which meant the Citroen pair pulled further ahead of the chasing pack.

    Mikko Hirvonen ended the morning loop their closest rival, 18.1sec back. The Finn moved up to third after Petter Solberg missed a junction and lost 10 seconds.

    Monster World Rally Team driver Ken Block retired from Friday's competition after rolling his Ford Focus RS WRC 13.5km from the start line. Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino are reported to be uninjured.



    SWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):

    1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 43mins 45.4secs S
    2. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 03.2secs S
    3. P-G Andersson Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 13.6secs S


    JWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):

    1. Thierry Neuville Citroen C2 S1600 45mins 57.6secs J
    2. Aaron Burkart Suzuki Swift S1600 +00mins 13.3secs J
    3. Yeray Lemes Renault Clio S1600 +00mins 51.1secs J

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    SS5: Ogier stretches ahead



    Sebastien Ogier set his third consecutive stage victory on the first of Friday's repeated tests, stretching his rally lead over Dani Sordo to 7.1 seconds.

    With the worst of the loose gravel surface now swept from the Santa Clara stage, times were noticeable quicker than on the first pass. Ogier's time of 13min 54.9sec was almost 17 seconds better than he had managed on SS2.

    Sordo was his closest rival once again, with Mikko Hirvonen third quickest to maintain an 18sec gap to the lead.



    --------------------------------------
    Block set to return on day two in Portugal



    Ken Block is set to restart on day two of Rally de Portugal following his roll on the fourth stage of the event this morning.

    The Monster World Rally Team driver was in 13th place when he left the road 13.5 kilometres from the start of the 21.36-kilometre Silves stage and retired.

    An initial inspection of the car, performed by a mechanic from the M-Sport team by the side of the stage, suggested that the damage was relatively light and would not prevent the American from continuing on the second leg of the Faro-based event.

    Block’s engineer Mathias Aubespin said: “I didn’t speak to him direct, only to his manager so I am not exactly sure what happened but they rolled the car, a light roll, broke the suspension and couldn’t carry on. We have a mechanic with the car now and the damage he described sounds like it wasn’t a bad roll, just the back end of the car was slightly damaged. The hope is all will be okay [to restart] tomorrow. As far as we know there is some suspension to repair and a bit of cosmetic.”

    Despite Block’s retirement, Aubespin said he was happy with the progress his driver was making in what is only his third appearance in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.
    “He’s doing good,” said Aubespin, who previously worked as Marcus Gronholm’s engineer when the Finn drove for the factory Ford team between 2006 and 2007.

    “He’s listening to the advice from everybody, the engineers, technicians and the other drivers. He’s really keen and has the right approach and attitude.

    “At first it was the basic things like changing gear and braking at the right time. He’s got that right so now it is just a case of learning all the other things because it is not easy what he is doing. But he is definitely going in the right way.”

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    ------------------------------------
    End of Day 1

    SS7: Ogier extends his advantage as Sordo hits trouble




    Sebastien Ogier more that tripled his Rally de Portugal lead on Friday's final stage courtesy of another stage winning time and a technical problem that slowed his closest rival Dani Sordo.

    The Citroen Junior Team driver will take a 26.6sec into the second day of the rally after Sordo - who still holds second - reported a sticking throttle on his C4.

    Petter Solberg also had problems, arriving at the finish control with his car's right-hand rear tyre in shreds. Defending champion Sebastien Loeb set the second fastest stage time and moved from fifth to third in the overall standings.




    SWRC Standings after Stage 7 / Day 1 (Top 3):

    1. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 1hour 25mins 00.5secs S
    2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 23.2secs S
    3. P-G Andersson Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 36.8secs S


    JWRC Standings after Stage 7 / Day 1 (Top 3):

    1. Aaron Burkart Suzuki Swift S1600 1hour 29mins 16.1secs J
    2. Yeray Lemes Renault Clio S1600 +00mins 10.5secs J
    3. Kevin Abbring Renault Clio R3 +04mins 23.0secs J


    -----------------------------------
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    WRC Friday wrap: Ogier holds firm in Portugal

    Sebastien Ogier will start day two of Vodafone Rally de Portugal with a lead of 26.6 seconds over Dani Sordo following a hugely impressive performance by the Citroen Junior Team driver.

    Ogier, who was fastest on five of Friday’s six stages in his C4 WRC, profited when Sordo suffered a suspected sticking throttle on the last stage of the day, which enabled Ogier to extend his advantage by almost 20 seconds over the Spaniard.

    The 26-year-old now faces the prospect of tackling Saturday’s stages first on the road. With road clearing likely to be more of a factor on day two due to the rougher nature of the stage surface, Ogier will face a tall order if he is to remain at the head of the field. However, he is braced for the challenge that lies ahead.

    “Everything was okay today, almost perfect,” said Ogier. “I tried to push from the first stage to the last one to try to make the gap. I am happy with the gap and it would have been difficult to make it more. Now we are going to be first on the road tomorrow and I know that will be quite difficult.”

    Defending world champion Sebastien Loeb was fifth heading into the final stage of the day but vaulted up to third with the second fastest time through the last test. However, delays caused by clearing the road of the loose surface gravel in the morning means he is 44.8s off the lead.

    Mikko Hirvonen is fourth overnight after admitting to backing off on the middle stage of the afternoon loop in order to preserve his tyres for the final run. He is 2.1s down on Loeb with Petter Solberg falling from third to fifth after destroying his right-rear tyre with an all-out attack on the last stage of the day.

    Jari-Matti Latvala is sixth after admitting his hard-charging style had caused his tyres to wear badly.

    Henning Solberg completed the final stage with his car’s steering column resting on his knees following a component failure. However, he kept hold of seventh place after Stobart M-Sport team-mate Matthew Wilson lost time when he ran wide into a ditch on the second run through the Santa Clara stage and then suffered fading brakes on stage seven.

    Mads Ostberg is ninth after enduring a heavy tyre wear and a bout of understeer on stage six. Kimi Raikkonen completes the top ten after improving the handling of his Citroen C4 by stiffening up the suspension for the afternoon stages. His co-driver, Kaj Lindstrom, said the Finn had also benefited from more consistent stage conditions after the changing grip levels in the morning had hit Raikkonen’s confidence.

    Federico Villagra is 11th, one place ahead of Khalid Al Qassimi, who inflicted damage to the rear of his Focus when he ran wide and struck a rock on stage two.

    Ken Block rolled into retirement on stage four but is due to restart on day two after an initial inspection of his Focus revealed only light damage.

    Click: wrc.com/Portugal/Friday/Wrap

    --------------------------------------

    J-WRC Friday wrap: Burkart leads after tough day for Juniors



    Junior World Rally Championship leader Aaron Burkart ended the opening day of the Rally of Portugal in a dominant position at the head of the leaderboard in his Suzuki Swift S1600.

    The German driver had been forced to play second fiddle for much of the day after Belgian Thierry Neuville blitzed the timesheets, winning five of today’s six stages - with both giving best to Spaniard Yeray Lemes who led after last night’s superspecial.

    Neuville’s hopes of landing a maiden J-WRC win went south for the second rally in succession - this time in much more dramatic fashion as he crashed his Citroen C2 S1600 off the road on the final stage.

    While Neuville had been quickest after the day’s penultimate test, Rally of Turkey J-WRC winner Burkart drove well and stayed in touch with the Citroen and was only 20 seconds adrift when the leader left the road and clattered a pole seven kilometres into the second run at the Silves test.

    “Some of the stages were quite rough today,” said the end of day leader. “The rocks in stage four were big, but okay, we are here. It’s been hard work for the tyres and I am a little surprised we didn’t have a puncture - the tyres have done well.”

    Burkart’s Suzuki ran well, with only a minor brake problem hindering the leader through day one.

    Click: wrc.com/JWRC/Friday/Wrap

    ----------------------------------

    S-WRC Friday wrap: Ketomaa ends day one out front



    Nasser Al-Attiyah jumped out of his Ford Fiesta S2000, pulled up the bonnet and peered underneath. Something was amiss. After spending the day building a small but significant lead over Jari Ketomaa, the Qatar driver had shipped his advantage and more the way of the Finn on the final test.

    Al-Attiyah’s first event back in the Ford Fiesta S2000 after his time in a Skoda Fabia went to plan for the first six stages as the multiple Middle East Rally Champion crafted an early advantage, but heading into the refuel after SS6, he knew something was wrong.

    “I felt the steering tighten,” said Al-Attiyah. “So, I filled up the oil in the power steering. It was fine after this, I changed the tyres and drove towards the final stage thinking everything was okay. Then, just when we started the stage the steering went again. I did 21 kilometres with no power steering, it was very tough. When this happened, I said: “Okay, now we drop the speed and get through the stage.” Have you seen my gloves?”

    With that, Al-Attiyah disappeared back into the car to retrieve his brand new, but worn out driving gloves. That’s how hard it had been for him to contain the time loss.
    There was no denying, he’d done a great job to drop just 30 seconds to Ketomaa in Silves second time around.

    Click: wrc.com/SWRC/Friday/Wrap

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    Day 2

    SS8: Loeb makes his move




    Last year's Rally de Portugal winner Sebastien Loeb was the fastest man through Saturday's opening stage to narrow the gap on leader Ogier from 44sec to 36sec.

    Loeb was first in the start order on day one, but will start all of Saturday's stages third on the road and benefiting from a racing line swept of loose gravel by Sebastien Ogier and Dani Sordo.

    Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, running sixth on the road, was Loeb's closest rival though the 26km Almodovar, completing it 2.8sec slower. Latvala's team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was third quickest.



    ----------------------------------------

    SS9: Loeb up to second



    Another stage win from Sebastien Loeb on SS9 moved the Frenchman ahead of his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo into second overall.

    Loeb also took another chunk out of Sebastien Ogier's rally lead, reducing it from 36sec to 25sec.

    After a strong performance through SS8, Jari-Matti Latvala crashed close to the start of SS9. The Finn went off the road after a crest and clipped a tree with the rear of his Ford Focus RS WRC. He has retired from Saturday's competition.



    ----------------------------------------

    SS10: Ogier stays out front at Saturday midpoint



    Rally de Portugal leader Sebastien Ogier emerged from Saturday morning's final stage with his advantage standing at 22.9sec - four seconds less than it was at the start of the day.

    Times were tight through the 16km S. Bras de Alpotel stage, with only 5.2 seconds separating the five fastest drivers.

    Petter Solberg was the stage winner; the Norwegian stopping the clock three-tenths quicker than his closest rival, Dani Sordo.



    ----------------------------------------

    Midday update: Loeb closes on leader Ogier in Portugal

    Sebastien Ogier continues to lead Vodafone Rally de Portugal following Saturday’s opening loop of three stages. However, Sebastien Loeb, the defending world champion, has stepped up his pursuit of his young countryman by closing to within 22.9 seconds of the lead of the event as the battle for victory heats up on the sun-drenched Algarve roads.

    Loeb started day two in third position and almost 45 seconds off the lead but moved to second ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo with the fastest time through the Vascao stage, the second of the morning.

    Loeb was also quickest on the first stage but he conceded he had thrown caution to the wind in terms of how he is managing his tyres on the demanding gravel tracks. “We are trying to take some time to Seb but on the last stage I was not so confident and made a little mistake in the water splash at the start,” said Loeb. “But I will try to continue to put pressure on him.”

    Read More Click: wrc.com/Midday/Update

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    Block 'devastated' by Portugal retirement



    Ken Block was forced to abandon his plan to restart day two of Rally de Portugal after his car failed a scrutineering check.

    A pace note error led to the Monster World Rally Team driver rolling out of the event 13km into Friday 's third stage (SS4). At the time, the soft roll into an open field was not thought to have damaged Block's car too badly.

    But the team's desire to return under SuperRally rules was crushed when the roll cage in the Ford Focus RS WRC was found to be damaged, forcing the team to retire from Rally Portugal.

    “Iʼve said it before, but this mistake only emphasizes that our biggest challenge in getting up to speed with the other drivers in the WRC this year is properly writing our own notes,” said Block. “It was clear during recce that this rally was going to be extremely tough. These roads are some of the most difficult stages I have ever driven.”

    “The hardest part for me is at this point in my career I need as many miles in the car as I can get, so missing the rest of the stages is just devastating,” added Block.

    Team Manager Derek Dauncey said: “We knew 2010 would be a development year for us, but when we first started out before Rally Mexico, the question still remained as to what areas we needed to focus on most. Ken proved in both Mexico and Turkey that he has the speed, but it had become apparent that Ken and Alex need to work more on notes. Coming from the Jemba system in the United States, the two are at a distinct disadvantage in the world of two-pass recce.”

    Earlier in the week, Block tested for Rally Portugal with help from former Ford WRC Factory driver Markko Märtin. One thing that came out of this test was Blockʼs need for improvement in formulating the pace notes with co-driver Alex Gelsomino.

    Märtin will continue to work with the pair to help them improve in this area in preparation for Rally Germany—the teamʼs first WRC round on tarmac.



    ---------------------------------------

    SS11: Another stage win for Ogier

    With the worst of the loose gravel swept from Almodovar on the earlier pass (SS8) first on the road Sebastien Ogier faced less of a disadvantage on the repeat and was comfortably fastest on SS11, extending his rally lead to 28 seconds.

    With the temperature nudging 24 degrees Celsius, tyre preservation was key through the 26km stage - the longest of the rally.

    Petter Solberg was Ogier's closest challenger, recording a time 2.5sec slower, while Dani Sordo was third quickest, 2.1sec off the Norwegian's pace, to move up into second overall.



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  14. #13

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    SS12: Sordo drops to fourth



    Dani Sordo slipped from second to fourth place on SS12 after adopting a cautious approach to save his tyres for the final test of the day.

    Sordo's tyres were badly worn at the end of the previous test, and faced with more abrasive conditions on the swept Vascao stage the Spaniard was anxious to keep some rubber for the 16km S Bras de Alpotel which follows.

    He completed the test 29sec slower than stage winner Sebastien Loeb and slipped 4.8seconds behind third placed Petter Solberg.

    Sebastien Ogier was second fastest to hold a rally lead of 23.1sec.



    ---------------------------------

    End of Day 2

    SS13: Ogier rounds off day two with 21 second lead


    Sebastien Ogier wrapped up a successful Saturday in Portugal by setting the second fastest time in the repeated S. Bras de Alpotel section - enough to give him a 21.1sec advantage ahead of Sunday's final day of the rally.

    Sebastien Loeb was the stage winner on SS13, completing the 16.72km test two seconds quicker than Ogier.

    Petter Solberg, also driving a Citroen C4 WRC, was fourth fastest to secure third in Saturday's overnight standings, 31.1sec behind Loeb.



    ---------------------------------

    WRC Saturday wrap: Ogier on course for first WRC win in Portugal



    Vodafone Rally de Portugal is set for a thrilling climax after Sebastien Ogier reached the end of day two 21.1 seconds in front of Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb.

    And with just four gravel stages remaining on Sunday, world champion Loeb fears he might not be able to prevent Ogier from landing his maiden victory in the World Rally Championship.

    “I have to push tomorrow but the gap is big and he is going very well,” said Loeb. “We are only second on the road tomorrow so it won’t be easy to make a difference. He was running very well but at the same time saving nicely his tyres. I was too cautious for the tyres and lost too much time.”

    Ogier, who drives for the Citroen Junior Team, has held his lead throughout the day despite having to carve his way through the loose surface gravel by running first on the road.

    He said: “We try to push all day. It was difficult but we didn’t lose a lot of time being first on the road. I have to see for my gap to Seb because I know it will be hard again tomorrow.”

    More Click: wrc.com/Saturday/Wrap

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  15. #14

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    S-WRC Saturday wrap: Ketomaa closes in on category victory



    Jari Ketomaa is five stages away from claiming his second Super 2000 World Rally Championship victory in as many events after completing day two of Vodafone Rally de Portugal with a lead of more than three minutes over fellow Ford Fiesta driver Xevi Pons.

    The Finn, who won his class for the first time on Rally New Zealand earlier this month, began Saturday’s first loop of stages 23.2s up on Autotek Motorsport team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah, who had led for much of the opening day before a powersteering fault struck on Friday’s final test and dropped him to second.

    However, when Al-Attiyah stopped five kilometres from the end of Saturday’s second stage with an electrical failure, Ketomaa was left in the clear after P-G Andersson, who was third in the S-WRC division at the start of Saturday, suffered a front-right puncture on the first stage and then lost more time when a right-rear wheel bearing worked loose.

    “It hasn’t been easy because on the first stage I went the wrong way at a junction and then I also nearly went into a ditch on the third stage,” said Ketomaa. “But even when Nasser stopped it was difficult to be less attacking because my pacenotes are designed to be fast so I couldn’t just cruise to the finish although I did take less risks.”

    More Click: wrc.com/SWRC/wrap

    ---------------------------------

    J-WRC Saturday wrap: Abbring leads after Burkart retires



    Most recently, it was Jamie Cullum, but Dinah Washington has had a go at it as well. And now Junior World Rally Championship leader Kevin Abbring should join the small, but select band of people who have sung the song. Because... what a difference a day makes.

    This time yesterday, Abbring was in the depths of despair having suffered a puncture and slipped down the leaderboard. But, 24 little hours later, he’s preparing to nurse a four-minute lead through the final day of the Rally of Portugal.

    Suzuki driver Aaron Burkart started the day a country mile ahead and he stayed there through the morning. The only thing on the German driver’s mind was conserving his Pirelli tyres for the morning’s three stages. As he returned to Almodovar for the start of the afternoon loop, he still had the look of a driver in complete control.

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Burkart. He slid off the road, continued, but then had to stop with damage to the radiator.

    More Click: wrc.com/JWRC/wrap


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    Day 3

    SS14: Sebastien vs Sebastien: it's game on!




    Sebastien Loeb took more than six seconds from Sebastien Ogier's lead of Rally de Portugal on Sunday's opener as the defending world champion began a final push for victory.

    Loeb, the winner of the rally in 2007 and 2009, reduced the gap on his Citroen stable-mate from 21.1sec to 14.9sec over the 21 kilometre Felizes test.

    Behind the lead pair, the battle for third hotted up too as Petter Solberg dropped time with steering rack problem. Fourth placed Dani Sordo began the stage 13.5sec behind the Norwegian but was only 2.2sec adrift at the finish.

    Mikko Hirvonen also closed in on the final podium position. Despite being hampered by dust in the ****pit of his Ford Focus, the Finn slimmed the gap to Sordo ahead from 8.2sec to 5.7sec.



    ---------------------------------------

    SS15: Ogier clings on at Sunday's midpoint

    Sebastien Ogier rounded off Sunday morning's loop of stages with his Rally de Portugal lead slimmed but intact. With only two more gravel stages and the Super special to go, Ogier has a 10.1sec over the hard charging Sebastien Loeb.

    Loeb was the fastest driver through SS15, completing the stage 4.8sec quicker than Ogier and admitting to pushing to the maximum. Ogier, however, claimed he still had something in reserve.

    Petter Solberg lost more time because of his car's damaged steering rack and slipped behind Dani Sordo into fourth place. Mikko Hirvonen, the leading Ford driver, rounded off the morning loop in fifth, only 6.5sec behind Petter.

    Stobart Ford team driver Henning Solberg retired 16km into the stage because of a broken fan belt. The Norwegian had been sixth.



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