Volkswagen’s rally driver, Sebastian Ogier proved that he is unstoppable after taking his fourth Rally Portugal victory, extending his lead in the World Rally Championship (WRC). The Frenchman won with 43.2sec advantage over second placed Mikko Hirvonen, who received his best result this year in a Ford Fiesta RS. Mads Østberg finished third in a Citroen DS3, a further 29.2sec behind.
“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 at every stage yesterday afternoon and that made the difference. To save my tyres, I didn’t push like crazy.” Said Ogier.
Ogier opened the road on Friday’s first full day and limited his losses in conditions that constantly switched between dry and muddy. He took the lead on Saturday and was untouchable with a clean sweep of stage wins. His victory in the Power Stage means Ogier took maximum points and leads the championship by 29 points after four of 13 round. The victory was Volkswagen’s eighth consecutive victory, matching the record set by Citroen in 2011.
The 340km gravel rally of Portugal has claimed a high attrition rate with retirements, including Elfyn Evans, Kris Meeke, Robert Kubica, Ott Tanak, Dani Sordo and Ogier’s team mate, Jari-Matti Latvala.
Round five of the WRC will be held in Argentina on 8-11 May.
Rally de Portugal: Overall standings (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC
2. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC
3. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC
5. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC
6. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS
7. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC
8. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC
9. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta RRC
10. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5