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    Cool WRC'14 Rally Portugal Apr 3-6 talk/results spoiler

    Rnd 4 - WRC Portugal - April 3-6



    What’s new for 2014

    The Lisbon area becomes the focus of the opening day. The start ceremony takes place in Estoril, just outside the city, before the opening stage at Praco do Imperio in the shadow of the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Saturday’s Santana da Serra stage runs in the opposite direction to 2013.
    Sunday’s penultimate Santa Brás de Alportel returns after not being used last year.

    Official Website: uk.rallydeportugal.pt/

    Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio


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    Shakedown:

    Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest through this afternoon’s Vale Judeu shakedown test at Rally de Portugal.



    The Finn posted fastest time in a Volkswagen Polo R on his second run through the 4.98km test.

    He had a comfortable 1.9sec margin over team-mate Sébastien Ogier until Henning Solberg came within 0.8sec of usurping Latvala on his fourth run in a Pirelli-shod Ford Fiesta RS.

    The sun was shining throughout the session, but after days of rain the stage remained wet in places.

    “The car felt very good I was very happy with its general handing," Latvala told wrc.com. “The stage was not exactly muddy but the ground was a bit damp, so we were running the soft tyre and the grip was good in these conditions.”

    Behind Ogier, Dani Sordo was fourth on his first gravel outing in Hyundai’s i20. The Spaniard’s first run was hampered by a handbrake problem, but after repairs in service he set the quickest time of Hyundai’s three-car squad.

    Mikko Hirvonen and Juho Hanninen completed the top six.

    Rally de Portugal - Shakedown results (Top 10):

    1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 3m 53.6s M
    2. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0.8s
    3. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0m 01.9s M
    4. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +0m 02.6s M
    5. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 03.1s M
    6. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 03.2s M
    7. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 03.3s M
    8. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 05.0s M
    9. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +0m 05.1s M
    10. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 05.3s M

    wrc.com/news//shakedown-portugal/

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    Thursday SS1: Ogier spoils Latvala's birthday



    Sébastien Ogier led a Volkswagen 1-2-3 in the opening stage of Rally de Portugal in Lisbon tonight.

    Ogier was fastest by 1.3sec in a Polo R through the 3.27km test on cobbles and asphalt at Praco do Imperio from birthday boy Jari-Matti Latvala, with Andreas Mikkelsen a further 0.9sec back.

    “It’s a good start but the real stuff starts tomorrow,” said Ogier. “We’re here to win the rally but it won’t be easy.”

    Huge crowds packed the test, in the shadow of the Jerónimos Monastery UNESCO World Heritage Site, where competitors spent several hours this afternoon following the start at Estoril’s Casino Gardens.

    Thierry Neuville was best of the rest in fourth in his Hyundai i20, 2.9sec behind Ogier. Kris Meeke, whose co-driver Paul Nagle is suffering with an upset stomach, and Mikko Hirvonen completed the top six.

    All the top drivers opted for soft compound tyres except Hyundai’s Dani Sordo. The Spaniard was happy to cede a few seconds to save his allocation of soft rubber in case the cool and wet weather continues into the rally.

    Competitors make the long journey back to Faro tonight. Tomorrow’s leg restarts at 09.00 for two identical loops of six stages covering 136.38km in the hills north-west of Faro. The two loops are split by service at the Algarve Stadium and the day ends there at 18.55.

    click: wrc.com/portugal_ss1



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    Friday:

    Sordo moves ahead

    What a morning for Hyundai!

    After Dani Sordo gave the Korean manufacturer’s 2014 squad its first fastest time in today’s opening Silves test, a second win in the shortened 20.21km Ourique (SS3) propelled the team into the lead of a WRC event for the first time.

    The Spaniard was quickest by 4.0sec from Ott Tänak to move his i20 into the lead by 2.8sec over the Estonian’s Ford Fiesta RS.

    Henning Solberg dropped more than 20sec after a puncture on the rear left of his Ford Fiesta RS.

    The Norwegian, seventh fastest through the opening stage this morning, picked up the flat shortly after the midpoint. “I was quite fast at the beginning. The puncture happened 8km before the end, on a straight section. I don't know what happened,” he said.

    Sébastien Ogier is finding it hard opening the road in his Volkswagen Polo R and the Frenchman slipped to third overall. “I'm not so happy with the car, and that’s not helped by carrying two spare wheels. But that’s a team decision - not mine.”

    SS2:
    Hyundai claimed its first stage victory in the WRC when Dani Sordo topped the timesheets in this morning’s opening 21.50km Silves.

    The Spaniard was fastest by 1.3sec, despite the right rear window on his i20 popping out in the test. Sordo reported slight understeer, but the handling issues afflicting team-mate Thierry Neuville were bigger.

    “I struggled like hell with understeer. It’s moving too much and I don’t feel too confident at the moment,” said the Belgian, who was 11th fastest and planned to work on the set-up before the following Ourique test.

    Andreas Mikkelsen was almost 23sec behind Sordo, the Norwegian admitting to a cautious start in his Volkswagen Polo R following a roll at the last round in Mexico. “I need to rebuild my confidence. I need to use my head and build the speed gradually,” he said.

    It’s going to be a long day for Paul Nagle, co-driver in Kris Meeke’s Citroen DS3. He is struggling with a stomach upset and didn’t eat at all yesterday.

    click: wrc.com/portugal/friday-update/

    SS2:


    SS3:


    SS4:



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    Rally de Portugal Friday update #3

    Robert Kubica’s awful season took another turn for the worse when the Pole crashed his Ford Fiesta RS in the 26.48km Almodôvar test (SS4).



    Kubica was 11km from the finish when he hit a tree while cutting a bend and the impact ripped a front wheel from the car. It came to rest blocking the road and a host of drivers, including Juho Hänninen and Khalid Al Qassimi, manhandled it out of the way before driving slowly to the finish.

    Organisers cancelled the stage and those that were delayed or didn’t complete the test will receive a notional time

    That could be a lucky break for Hänninen. Before reaching the blockage, the Finn stopped for more than two minutes to change a puncture and the stewards will decide whether to factor that delay into his notional time.



    Elfyn Evans was another to fall foul of Almodôvar. The Welshman [pictured above] rolled several times 17km into the stage, his Fiesta RS ending at the bottom of a steep bank. TV crews report he missed a braking point and hit a bank.

    Amid the drama, Sébastien Ogier regained the lead and heads team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala by 0.4sec.


    -------------------------------
    Friday Mid-Leg:

    Sébastien Ogier leads Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala by four-tenths of a second after the morning stages on the second day of Rally de Portugal.

    Ogier moved ahead in his Polo R in the Almodôvar stage, the last of the morning loop. But the fight at the front was so tight that just 9.0sec covered the top six.

    Dani Sordo gave Hyundai’s i20 its first stage win when he won the opening Silves stage, and a second victory in Ourique meant the car led a WRC round for the first time.

    Mikko Hirvonen is third in a Ford Fiesta RS, 1.9sec behind Latvala, with Ott Tänak fourth another 3.2sec behind. Sordo and Mads Østberg complete the top six.

    Thierry Neuville had understeer problems in the opening stage and is seventh in his i20. The rest of the leaderboard remains uncertain after the cancellation of Almodôvar (SS4) when Robert Kubica crashed his Fiesta RS and blocked the road.

    Kubica hit a tree and ripped a front wheel off his car, while Elfyn Evans retired in the same test after rolling his Fiesta RS heavily.

    Positions in WRC 2 are unclear as notional times are still to be applied for the cancelled stage. After SS3, Nasser Al-Attiyah led in a Fiesta RRC by 0.7sec from Jari Ketomaa with Karl Kruuda third, a further 40.0sec behind.

    Conditions were tricky for the first cars through the stages. Dry roads in open areas contrasted with slimy sections in the shade and drivers starting lower down the order enjoyed the best of the conditions, especially in the opening two tests.

    click / video scroll down: wrc.com/friday-mid-leg/

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    SS5:


    60. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 1:05:33.3 +5.0 +9:11.2

    SS6:


    SS7:


    Mikko Hirvonen leads Rally de Portugal by 3.7sec after snatching the lead in the final test. Ott Tanak holds second with Sebastien Ogier third a further 2.8sec behind.

    Conditions were tricky and it was a tale of woe for many. Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke, Elfyn Evans and Robert Kubica all crashed out.

    Kris Meeke joined the lengthy list of retirements when he crashed his Citroen DS3 in today’s final stage (SS7).

    The Briton went off the road in the 26.48km Almodôvar stage at the same point at which Elfyn Evans rolled his Ford Fiesta Rs this morning.

    Meeke appeared concerned about that section of road as he was reportedly asking other drivers before the stage start if they knew exactly where Evans had crashed.

    Jari-Matti Latvala’s Rally de Portugal curse struck again when the Finn rolled out of second place midway through the 21.80km Silves test (SS5).

    Latvala, second in his Volkswagen Polo R and just 0.4sec behind team-mate Sébastien Ogier, was 1.3sec up on his colleague when he crashed 11.6km into the afternoon’s opening test. Latvala could not continue but both he and co-driver Miikka Anttila were unhurt.

    Latvala had a massive accident on this rally in 2009 when he plunged almost 200 metres down a hillside after rolling 12 times, and crashed again the following year.

    Many top drivers, including Mikko Hirvonen, Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak, Dani Sordo and Juho Hänninen opted for soft tyres but were surprised by how dry and abrasive it was on the second pass. Their tyres were wearing already and there were big concerns about the effect the warm and drier conditions would have on the remaining two tests.

    Those using the more durable hard Michelin compound tyres, however, included Sébastien Ogier and Citroen duo Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke.

    click: wrc.com/news/friday-update/


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    Saturday

    SS8:


    73. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 2:15:04.7 +50.6 +37:35.9

    SS9:


    68. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 2:43:08.0 +8:18.5 +42:22.7

    Update #3: Ogier back in front

    It was all change at the top of the leaderboard in the demanding 31.90km Santana da Serra (SS9), the longest stage of the rally.

    On the test that was most badly affected by flash flooding during Tuesday’s recce, Sébastien Ogier blitzed his rivals to post fastest time by a massive 8.4sec and relegate Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tänak in the overall standings.

    The Frenchman leads Hirvonen by 2.4sec in his Volkswagen Polo R, with Tänak slipping to third, a further 8.6sec back. The Estonian arrived at the finish with the rear anti-roll bar trailing at the back of the Ford Fiesta RS.

    Robert Kubica must wonder what he has to do to earn some luck – the Pole is on the sidelines again this morning after hitting trouble.

    His Ford Fiesta RS slid off the road 20.7km into the longest test of the event, the car reported to be undamaged but stuck. Kubica and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak managed to get the car back onto the gravel but in doing so damaged the clutch and they could not continue.


    SS10:
    Update #4: Tänak caught out


    Ott Tanäk crashed out of third place in the 22.15km Malhao (SS10) when the Estonian went off the road at the same place where Jari-Matti Latvala suffered his monster crash in 2009.

    Tanak’s Fiesta RS came to rest blocking the road, and both Mikko Hirvonen and Jari Ketomaa were held up for several minutes. The stage was neutralised and the remaining competitors drove through uncompetitively. Notional times will be awarded to those crews.

    Both Tanak and co-driver Raigo Mölder are reported to be OK.

    Latvala’s crash in 2009 was one of the biggest in WRC history. A long fast straight leads into a right corner that tightens into an immediate left bend. Latvala’s car leapt the crash barrier and plunged almost 200 metres down a hillside as it rolled 12 times.



    68. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 2:58:02.5 +8:18.5 +43:17.2

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

    Saturday - Midday:


    Sébastien Ogier returned to the lead of Rally de Portugal after another action-packed morning on the third and penultimate day.

    The Frenchman trailed Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak overnight in his Volkswagen Polo R. However, he relegated both with a stunning time in the 31.90km Santana da Serra, the middle of the morning’s three stages and the longest of the weekend.

    He was 8.7sec quicker than Hirvonen and 12.9sec faster than Tänak to take a 2.4sec advantage over the Finn’s Ford Fiesta RS.

    Tänak then crashed in the 22.15km Malhao, at exactly the same point that Jari-Matti Latvala barrel rolled almost 200 metres down the hillside in 2009. Tänak’s Fiesta RS came to rest blocking the road and Hirvonen was one of several drivers held up.

    The test was neutralised for the following competitors, who received notional times. Hirvonen was awarded the same time as Ogier’s clean run and the gap between the duo remains at 2.4sec.

    Mads Østberg climbs to third in a Citroen DS3, with Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top six. Mikkelsen climbed ahead of Henning Solberg this morning.

    Robert Kubica hit more trouble when he slid off in Santana da Serra and burned out the clutch on his Fiesta RS as he tried to regain the road, while Kris Meeke failed to restart after his roll cage was damaged in last night’s roll.

    click: wrc.com//saturday-midday


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    Saturday Afternoon:

    Update #5: Double century for VW


    Leader Sébastien Ogier claimed the Volkswagen Polo R’s 200th stage win with fastest time through the 19.09km Santa Clara (SS11). With 307 stages run since VW entered the WRC last year, that’s an impressive win rate of 65 per cent.

    Ogier and second-placed Mikko Hirvonen opted for soft compound Michelin rubber, Ogier carrying one spare while Hirvonen took a cautious two. The big question is that with temperatures climbing and the roads drying, will soft rubber last 73.14km of stages?

    Hirvonen’s rear left was already worn. “I’ll go flat out as long as the tyres last,” he said.

    Andreas Mikkelsen drove more than half the stage with no power steering on his Polo R. With a 31.90km test next, he wasn’t looking forward to it. “I’m not entering a strong man competition!” he said.

    Jari-Matti Latvala finished with a slow puncture on the front right of his Polo R. “It happened at the midpoint after 10km, I started to feel something strange,” said Latvala, who is carrying just one spare.

    Juho Hänninen picked up his third flat of the weekend after hitting a bank at the flying finish and damaging the rear left tyre on his Hyundai i20. Like Latvala, he also has one spare.

    SS11:


    68. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 3:12:47.0 +4:13.6 +45:57.0

    Update #6: Suspension drama for Neuville

    Thierry Neuville dropped two minutes in the second pass through the long, muddy Santana da Serra (SS12) after damaging the rear suspension of his Hyundai i20.

    The Belgian was fastest to the 18km mark in the 31.90km test, but began haemorraghing time soon after. His tyre was shredded but, more seriously, it seemed a link was broken in the suspension.

    “It was part of the stage where the road was wider. I hit something very slightly and it seems we have broken something. I can drive, everything is working but the wheel is moving around,” said Neuville.

    Team-mate Dani Sordo caught Neuville about 2km from the end, but the Spaniard reckoned it didn’t cost much time.

    There was good news and bad for Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian was able to repair his damaged power steering before the start, but as a result he didn’t have time to fit the two spare soft tyres waiting in the back of his Polo R.

    SS12:


    68. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 3:40:22.1 +5.3 +50:31.5

    Update #7: tough end of day for Hyundai

    Broken suspension on Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 cost the Belgian almost 3min 30sec in today’s final stage, the 22.15km Malhao (SS13).

    Neuville broke a suspension link after hitting the rear left in the previous Santana da Serra test and had to nurse his car home. He stopped mid-stage to allow team-mate Dani Sordo to pass and dropped two places to seventh overall.

    Team-mate Juho Hänninen dropped time towards the end of the stage with what he believed was a broken driveshaft on his i20. Having just regained eighth from Martin Prokop, the Finn is now back to ninth.

    Henning Solberg reported issues with the handbrake on his Ford Fiesta RS, but the Norwegian still climbed to fifth after Neuville’s problems.

    SS13:


    67. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 3:57:18.1 +4:24.7 +53:38.3

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

    Ogier pulls clear in Portugal on day 3

    Sébastien Ogier dominated day 3 of Rally de Portugal to build a 38.1sec lead over Mikko Hirvonen.

    The Volkswagen Polo R pilot won five of the six gravel stages in the hills above the Algarve region to grab the initiative with just three short tests remaining tomorrow.

    Ogier relegated Hirvonen from top spot in the second stage and ended the morning with a slender 2.4sec advantage. The world champion was untouchable this afternoon, reeling off three straight wins after opting for soft tyres on the drying abrasive roads.

    “It was a great run and in the end I didn’t push so hard,” said Ogier. “We had good management of the tyres.”

    Hirvonen used the same soft compound but his rubber was almost worn to the canvas. “I started to get scared we would get a puncture. I would have liked to carry the fight all the way through but we weren’t able to do it,” said the Ford Fiesta RS pilot.

    read more/video scroll down: wrc.com/portugal-day-3-wrap/


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    Sunday:

    Update #1: Sordo out on road section


    Dani Sordo was the first casualty of today’s fourth and final day of Rally de Portugal when the fourth-placed Spaniard parked his Hyundai i20 on the road section to the opening Loulé stage with a broken front left driveshaft.

    Neither Ott Tänak nor Robert Kubica returned to the fray following their retirements yesterday.

    Update # 2: Lucky escape for Juho

    Juho Hänninen counted himself lucky to finish the opening 13.83km Loulé (SS14) after swiping a tree on co-driver Tomi Tuominen’s side of their Hyundai i20 and putting a big dent in the door.

    “I went wide close to the start and hit a tree. We were lucky to be able to continue,” explained the Finn.

    Henning Solberg, up to fourth after the demise of Dani Sordo, was cryptic about something that bothered him in the stage. “I have to do some work on the car myself,” said the Norwegian, who wouldn’t expand further on what the issue was with his Ford Fiesta RS.

    Solberg is just 2.7sec ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen after the VW Polo R pilot took 12.2sec back in the stage.

    SS14:


    63. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 4:09:35.8 +49.5 +56:49.6

    Update # 3: Mikkelsen into fourth

    Andreas Mikkelsen climbed into fourth after overhauling Henning Solberg through the penultimate 16.21km Santa Brás de Alportel (SS15).

    Mikkelsen was 11.4sec quicker than his fellow Norwegian to move his Volkswagen Polo R 8.7sec ahead with just the 13.83km Loulé Power Stage remaining.

    “My rhythm was better on this one but it was so slippery in places. We try to fight with Henning but we’re not taking big risks. You need to play the game smart. I played the game smart here after my crash in Mexico and now I’m setting good stage times. It’s just what I wanted,” said Mikkelsen.

    Seventh-placed Martin Prokop sliced the front left tyre on his Ford Fiesta RS after a slight error. “I went wide and straight over some forest and hit something,” said the Czech driver.

    SS15:


    58. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 4:23:16.4 +57.4 +58:37.7

    Breaking News:
    Sébastien Ogier won his fourth Rally de Portugal today by 43.2sec to extend his lead in the FIA World Rally Championship.

    Mikko Hirvonen finished second in a Ford Fiesta RS with Mads Østberg claiming third in a Citroen DS3, a further 29.2sec behind.

    Ogier claimed three bonus points by claiming fastest time in his Volkswagen Polo R through the final Loulé Power Stage. Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala took two and Østberg secured the final point.

    SS16:


    56. Car110 - RUS - L. URLICHICH - 4:33:42.2 +1:13.1 +1:00:21.8

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

    Fourth Portugal win for Ogier

    Sébastien Ogier claimed his fourth Rally de Portugal victory in five years today to extend his lead in the FIA World Rally Championship.

    The Frenchman won by 43.2sec in a Volkswagen Polo R from Mikko Hirvonen, who took his best result this year in a Ford Fiesta RS. Mads Østberg finished third in a Citroen DS3, a further 29.2sec behind.

    Ogier won the final live TV Power Stage to take maximum bonus points and leads the championship by 29 points after four of 13 rounds. The victory was Volkswagen’s eighth consecutive victory, matching the record set by Citroen in 2011.

    “Portugal is a place I love to drive and now I have four wins from five starts in a World Rally Car here,” said Ogier. “I had a good battle with Mikko for a big part of the rally, and I had good tyre management on every stage yesterday afternoon and that made the difference. To save my tyres, I didn’t push like crazy."

    read more/video scroll down: wrc.com/portugal-final/

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

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