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Portugal - 30 May-2 Jun 19

Posted: June 2, 2019 4:17 AM - 1583 Hits

Round 7 - 2019 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Portugal 2019) Also available at: rally-base results & ewrc-results.com
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally de Portugal

First stage each day (Portugal is in the same time zone as Ireland/UK)
Shakedown - Thu - 08:01
SS1 Fri - 09:48
SS8 Sat - 08:38
SS16 Sun - 08:25

BATTLE LINES DRAWN AS WRC 2 PRO RIVALS HEAD TO PORTUGAL

Posted: May 29, 2019 11:12 AM

The new WRC 2 Pro category for professional drivers in factory-supported R5 cars is quickly developing into a four-way battle for the inaugural title, as drivers head to this weekend’s 53rd Vodafone Rally of Portugal.

Monte-Carlo category winner Gus Greensmith leads the series by just five points after six rounds, but the young Englishman’s reward for a solid start to the season has been a debut seat in the third official M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Fiesta WRC alongside Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen this weekend.

In his absence, the door has been left wide open for the experienced Norwegian Mads Østberg to follow up victories in Sweden and Argentina and a second place in Chile with a win in Portugal that would enable him to top the WRC 2 Pro points’ standings in the Citroën Total World Rally Team’s C3 R5.

The Versailles-built C3 will feature revised rear geometry for the first time in Portugal. Østberg tested for three days recently and was impressed with the handling improvements. Further revisions to the engine and suspension are likely in the future. The Norwegian has a formidable pedigree in Portugal as well – he was the outright winner in 2012 and finished third overall in 2014.

Škoda Motorsport has set its own target and will give the latest version of the new Fabia R5 its WRC debut in Portugal in the hands of Czech Jan Kopecký and his young Finnish team-mate Kalle Rovanperä. The latter is fresh from claiming the category win in Chile a little over two weeks ago and is in a perfect position to close in on the championship lead. The son of former WRC driver Harri Rovanperä currently trails Greensmith by 12 points and Østberg by eight.

Kopecký is the defending WRC 2 Champion and guided the new Fabia R5 Evo to a winning debut at the recent Rally Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. The car features engine performance upgrades, a strengthened body shell and improved roll cage and steering.

Poland’s Lukasz Pieniazek was the early season leader of the category in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5, courtesy of wins in Mexico and Corsica, but the decision to miss Copec Rally Chile has pushed the Pole down to third in the championship, a point clear of Rovanperä.

Guerra faces stiff challenge in WRC 2

Mexican driver Benito Guerra will have his work cut out to extend the 14-point cushion he currently has in the WRC 2 Championship. A home win and second places in Argentina and Chile have given the Škoda Fabia R5 driver a 61-point title boost, but Portugal has attracted an impressive 22 rivals and all the top names in Portuguese rallying.

Not only will Guerra have to see off title rivals like recent Chile WRC 2 winner Takamoto Katsuta and Norway’s Ole Christian Veiby - who won in Sweden - but local drivers Ricardo Teodósio, Miguel Barbosa, Armindo Araújo, José Pedro Fontes, Bruno Magalhães and Pedro Meireles will be pushing hard for glory on their home stages.

Katsuta arrives in northern Portugal fresh from dominating last weekend’s Riihimäki Ralli, the latest round of the Finnish Championship.

Several other drivers are more than capable of springing a surprise: Norwegian veteran Henning Solberg will be keen to put his younger rivals to shame on his return to the WRC in a Fabia R5 and Sweden’s Emil Bergkvist, Chile’s Alberto Heller and Finland’s Jari Huttunen highlight the strength in depth in the WRC 2 category. Huttunen drove his Hyundai i20 NG R5 for the first time last weekend and finished second to Katsuta in the Riihimäki Ralli.

Wednesday

Tomorrow is the second day of reconnaissance for competitors. After taking a look at Friday’s specials today (Tuesday), attention switches to the timed tests they will face on Saturday and Sunday.

The recce for Priority 1 drivers begins with their passes through the Vieira do Minho, Caberceiras de Basto and Amarante stages that are in the agenda for Saturday and the recce concludes with checks of Sunday’s Montim, Fafe and Luilhas stages.

WRC heavyweights primed for Portugal rally due

Posted: May 29, 2019 11:05 AM

Loeb’s late call-up brings the prospect of another mouth-watering duel with Ogier.

The two most successful drivers in WRC history locked horns again in Chile three weeks ago. Ogier fended off his fellow Frenchman in a final-leg fight to finish second and regain the championship lead in his quest for a seventh straight world title.

It was expected to be their last head-to-head for a while as Loeb’s part-time programme with Hyundai Motorsport was not due to continue until the second half of the season.

But Loeb’s stunning performance in Chile, when he finished third on his first gravel appearance in a Hyundai i20, prompted the Korean squad to draft him into their Portugal line-up in place of the out-of-form Andreas Mikkelsen.

Despite not having driven northern Portugal’s gravel speed tests before, Loeb has a favourable start position for Friday’s opening leg, and some believe the 45-year-old can topple Ogier and challenge for what would be a remarkable 80th WRC victory.

"Participating in this rally is an unexpected bonus,” he said. “It’s not easy to discover a new rally, especially one my opponents have already taken part in, but I’ve seen there are some beautiful stages on the first day in the Arganil area.

“It is always difficult to set goals, given that my opponents already know the rally but my goal is to be at the front in the fight for first place.”

Ogier is a Portugal master. He has five wins to his name and a sixth would break the record of Finland’s Markku Alén. It was also the scene of his first WRC victory in 2010.

His fifth podium in six rounds in Chile left him 10 points clear of Ott Tänak and 12 ahead of Thierry Neuville in the title race.

Despite a significant improvement in his Citroën C3’s performance, he has demanded further development to improve grip in slippery conditions – exactly the circumstances he will encounter on Friday from first in the start order.

“If we’re to have a chance of scoring heavily here, we’ll need to manage running first on the road as best we can on Friday’s fairly short opening leg to end the day as high up the standings as possible. On gravel, it’s crucial in order for the rest of the weekend to go well,” he said.

Tänak’s Chile win rejuvenated his bid for a maiden title while Neuville has fully recovered from a massive crash there which left the Belgian with bruising and an injured leg.

The rally, round seven of 14, begins on Friday morning. Drivers face 18 speed tests covering 306.97km before the finish in Matosinhos, near Porto, on Sunday afternoon.

Entry List

Posted: May 21, 2019 7:01 AM

Hyundai Motorsport adjusts driver line-up for Rally de Portugal

Posted: May 21, 2019 6:40 AM

Hyundai Motorsport has revealed a change to its crew line-up for the forthcoming Rally de Portugal, round seven of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Following a competitive performance at Rally Chile, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will take part in Portugal alongside the previously announced Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio.

Loeb took third place in Chile, securing his first-ever podium in Hyundai Motorsport colours, and finishing as the highest placed Hyundai Motorsport crew. The result helped the team to retain its lead of the manufacturers’ championship after Neuville’s rally retirement.

Hyundai Motorsport holds a 29-point advantage in the title chase as the season approaches its halfway mark. The team has vowed to raise its game against tough opposition in another closely contested championship battle.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger-Amland will return to the i20 Coupe WRC for Rally Italia Sardegna next month.

Team Director Andrea Adamo said:
“This decision was not taken lightly. We need to move forward as a team and make the most effective use of our versatile crew line-up. Sébastien and Daniel had a competitive event in Chile, and have found a good feeling in the car on gravel. We felt their contribution would allow us to increase our points-scoring potential in Portugal. We are trying hard to find a way to get Andreas’s confidence back and we are sure he will approach his next event, Sardinia, in the same way he was able to in Argentina. When you have a line-up like ours and look at the results from Chile, it’s necessary to react quickly.”

Sébastien Loeb said:
“I had a great feeling with the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in Chile, which was shown by our podium finish. I am pleased to have the chance to build some important momentum by taking part in Rally de Portugal. This is an unexpected decision but I am feeling in a positive frame of mind and determined to get another strong result for the team.”

Rally Guide / Details / Event Website

Posted: February 19, 2019 1:36 PM






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