Sebastien Ogier has gone fastest in shakedown for Vodafone Rally de Portugal.
Driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia set a quickest time of 3m08.5s over the 5.03-kilometre Vale de Judeau practice stage, which was held in warm and sunny conditions a short distance from the service park in Faro.
Ogier, who claimed his maiden World Rally Championship victory in Portugal last season, said: “Everything was okay and we are happy with the performance. We did not make any major changes to the set-up of the car, just some small details.”
Sebastien Loeb, Ogier’s Citroen team-mate and the seven-time world rally champion, was second fastest, one-tenth of a second slower than Ogier.
Factory Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala was a further two-tenths of a second adrift in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC with Petter Solberg fourth overall in his DS3 WRC.
Mads Ostberg was fifth quickest in the lead M-Sport Stobart Fiesta with Mikko Hirvonen sixth in the second works Ford. Ostberg’s M-Sport Stobart team-mates Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson were next up with Kimi Raikkonen and Federico Villagra completing the top 10.
The stage was interrupted following Ken Block’s crash but all leading drivers are understood to have completed their planned number of runs as they finalise their preparations for the third event of the WRC season, which gets underway in the Portuguese capital Lisbon on Thursday afternoon. Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were taken to hospital for precautionary checks after rolling their Fiesta but a spokesperson for their Monster World Rally Team confirmed they are okay.
Here are the Shakedown times of the leading WRC drivers:
1. OGIER. Citroen DS3 WRC. 3:08.5
2. LOEB. Citroen DS3 WRC. 3:08.6
3. P. SOLBERG. Citroen DS3 WRC. 3:09.2
4. LATVALA. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 3:09.4
5. OSTBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 3:09.6
6. HIRVONEN. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 3:10.8
7. H. SOLBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 3:13.4
8. WILSON. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 3:14.8
9. RAIKKONEN. Citroen DS3 WRC. 3:15.1
10. VILLAGRA. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 3:15.6
Block crashes in Portugal shakedown
Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino have undergone precautionary checks in hospital after they crashed during shakedown for Vodafone Rally de Portugal.
Block was tackling his third run over the 5.03-kilometre stage at Vale de Judeau when it is understood he clipped a rock in a narrow section approximately halfway through the stage and rolled over a bank.
His Ford Fiesta RS WRC ended up some six metres off the road although it is not clear whether the damage will be too extensive for the American to start the rally tomorrow (Thursday) until engineers from Block’s Monster World Rally Team have carried out a technical inspection.
A spokesperson for the team said: “Ken and Alex went to hospital in Faro for a precautionary check-up but are okay. We’re waiting for the car to get back to service before we have an idea of how bad the damage is.”