28 t/m 30 mei 2010 WRC Rally Portugal
Einduitslag na dag 3:
Hirvonen takes a fighting fourth in Portugal
after tense final day:
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen
finished fourth in Rally de Portugal today after a thrilling three-car
battle for the final podium place. After three days of flat-out driving
in the hills above the Algarve coastline, the fight for third in this
sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship was only decided on the
final 2km speed test inside Faro's soccer stadium this afternoon.
The Finns had settled for fifth in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car
heading into the test, which featured two cars at-a-time racing around a
purpose-built track and was broadcast live on Portuguese television.
However, when fourth-placed Petter Solberg went off the road in the
previous heat and lost 15 seconds, 29-year-old Hirvonen measured his
pace in the following duel and climbed to fourth after 18 stages
This rally was played out in high temperatures over demanding gravel
roads near the holiday resort of Faro. The heat and the abrasive
bedrock, which forms the base of the roads in this area, made it a tough
challenge for tyres. Drivers had to skilfully manage tyre wear on their
Pirelli Scorpion rubber to ensure they retained as much grip as possible
towards the end of the long loops of special stages.
Hirvonen ended Friday's opening leg in fourth but ceded a position on
the leaderboard during yesterday's longest day of the rally. The
29-year-old began the final leg this morning as one of three cars
chasing the final step on the podium, with less than 22sec covering the
He slashed that gap to less than eight seconds on the opening speed test
and the trio began the final country stage covered by just 7.4sec.
However, Hirvonen's attacking driving took its toll on his tyres and he
realised halfway through that he could not close the gap further. He
eased his pace and settled for fifth before the excitement inside the
"What an amazing end to the rally," he said. "After all the drama on the
final stage during the last round in New Zealand, I can't believe that
it has happened again here. I couldn't have driven any faster this
morning. I gave everything to try to catch the two guys ahead but my
rear tyres lost their grip and midway through the stage I called off the
attack. I knew I couldn't reach them. It was a difficult rally. I didn't
have the pace this weekend to challenge for the win and the rally was
tough on tyres.
"I tried a different approach this weekend. I
was less aggressive, letting my driving flow rather than pushing too
much. I thought my driving was good and the car handled well, but the
times weren't fast enough. The result wasn't good from a championship
point of view but we've done six rallies and there are seven more to
come so there's still everything to fight for," added Hirvonen.
Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were unable to restart
under SupeRally rules this morning following yesterday's accident, in
which they hit a tree at 110kph. The rear of their Ford Focus RS WRC was
too badly damaged to repair.
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr finished ninth in the
team's third car.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on a 'disappointing'
weekend for the team. "What happened on the final stage proved once
again how this sport delivers incredible drama. It also shows that the
small, spectator-friendly tests can be just as important as the longer
stages out in the country. After a great win in New Zealand earlier this
month, this didn't go the way we planned but we have to accept that."
Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe's motorsport chief, said: "We can't escape
the fact that we didn't enjoy as good a weekend as we had hoped. We now
have six weeks before the season restarts and we'll use that time to
work as hard as we can to try to regain the form that has already
brought the team two victories this season," he said.
News from other Ford teams
Stobart M-Sport Ford drivers Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin finished
sixth in a Focus RS World Rally Car, climbing a place after team-mates
Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor retired with alternator failure on the
second stage this morning. Munchi's Ford drivers Federico Villagra and
Jorge Perez Companc won their battle for eighth place with Al Qassimi
after starting the day tied on time. In the S-WRC support series the
Ford Fiesta S2000 claimed first and second places. Jari Ketomaa and Mika
Stenberg beat Spain's Xevi Pons and Alex Haro by more than 3min 30sec.
Pons retains the series lead.
After a summer break, the championship restarts with Rally Bulgaria's
debut appearance in the WRC. The all-asphalt rally is based in the ski
resort of Borovets on 8 -11 July.
1. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 3hr 51min 16.1sec
2. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 51min 24.0sec
3. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 52min 33.7sec
4. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 52min 48.1sec
5. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen C4 3hr 52min 51.8sec
6. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 3hr 58min 26.2sec
7. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Subaru Impreza 3hr 58min 44.4sec
8. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 4hr 01min 52.2sec
9. K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 4hr 02min 11.9sec
10 K Räikkönen/K Lindström FIN Citroen C4 4hr 02min 50.4sec
1. S Loeb 126pts
2. S Ogier 88pts
3. M Hirvonen 76pts
4. J-M Latvala 72pts
5. P Solberg 63pts
6. D Sordo 49pts
1. Citroen Total 189pts
2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi 163pts
3. Citroen Junior 106pts
4. Stobart M-Sport Ford 84pts
5. Munchi's Ford 40pts
Bron | M-Sport
Uitslag na dag 2:
Hirvonen remains optimistic as Portugal poses
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen
ended today's second leg of Rally de Portugal in fifth position after
another tough day's competition. The Finns have not ruled themselves out
of a podium finish in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car with a final
demanding day's action in the Algarve hills remaining. Team-mates
Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila retired this morning after
crashing into a tree, the damage preventing them from continuing.
The second day of this sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship
returned to the Serra do Caldeirão hills, north of the holiday resort of
Faro. Drivers tackled two identical loops of three sun-kissed gravel
speed tests covering 135.10km. High temperatures and hard, rock-based
roads again made tyre wear a key consideration, and drivers had to
temper their natural attacking instincts to ensure the rubber provided
sufficient grip at the end of each loop.
Hirvonen restarted in fourth but lost a position on the second special
stage this morning to complete the opening loop in fifth, 10.6sec behind
his closest rival. Tyre preservation was on the 29-year-old Finn's mind
throughout the afternoon as temperatures rose and the surface bedrock
became more exposed. However, he did a good job of managing tyre wear
and was able to attack hard through the final stage, setting third
fastest time. He lies just 8.2sec behind fourth-placed Dani Sordo and
21.7sec from Petter Solberg in third.
"I felt I drove really well, but I didn't make the progress I hoped this
morning," admitted Hirvonen. "The second stage was confusing. My
performance wasn't consistent and the car slid around in the second part
of the stage on the wider and faster sections. Perhaps taking two spare
tyres was too cautious. It added an extra 25kg to the weight of the car
and when the car slid sideways, it slipped more because of the extra
weight in the rear.
"I tried hard to save my tyres on the first two stages this afternoon
and that decision paid me back on the final test because I was able to
attack. I have plenty to fight for tomorrow. A podium is possible, but
there are quite a few of us who want that. There are only two stages in
each loop and the early start means temperatures will be cooler, so we
won't have to worry as much about managing our tyres," he added.
Latvala and Anttila were second fastest through the opening stage in
their Focus RS WRC to retain their overnight sixth position. However,
the Finns' day ended just 400 metres into the next test.
"The third bend on the stage was flat out and led into a right corner,"
explained 25-year-old Latvala. "I was a little late turning into the
second corner and hit a bank. The car started to spin and hit a tree
about 40 metres from the road. The rear of the car took the impact and
was too badly damaged to continue. I knew as soon as I hit the tree that
the day was over.
"It has been a difficult rally for me. After a bad opening stage
yesterday, I found a good rhythm and I was quite happy. This morning my
target was to climb the leaderboard and I made a good start on the
opening stage. But now I've lost manufacturers' points for the team and
I'm disappointed," he added. It is hoped he can restart under SupeRally
Team-mates Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr are tied in 10th place in
the team's other Focus RS WRC. "We were better than yesterday, but I had
some problems with the brakes. I enjoyed this afternoon and am positive
about tomorrow's stages. We will make some small changes and start to
push a bit harder," said Al Qassimi.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson said: "A podium is still
possible for Mikko and, from a championship perspective, we really need
that. Jari-Matti was doing a good job but he made a mistake and he needs
to learn from that. I hope he will be back out tomorrow gaining some
more valuable experience."
News from other Ford teams
Stobart M-Sport Ford hold sixth and seventh with the Focus RS WRCs of
Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor and team-mates Matthew Wilson and Scott
Martin. Solberg had fuel pump troubles this morning while Wilson
overcame brake difficulties on the opening loop. Munchi's Ford drivers
Federico Villagra and Jorge Perez Companc are tied in 10th with Al
Qassimi. Monster World Rally Team duo Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino were
unable to restart this morning due to accident damage after yesterday's
roll. In the S-WRC support class, the Ford Fiesta S2000 continues to
hold first and second. Jari Ketomaa and Mika Stenberg lead championship
leaders Xevi Pons and Alex Haro by more than three minutes.
The final leg is the shortest of the rally and is again based in the
Serra do Caldeirão hills. After restarting at 05.50, drivers face two
identical loops of two speed tests, split by a return to the Algarve
Stadium service park. After a short final service, drivers tackle a
repeat of Thursday evening's super special stage inside the stadium. The
day's competitive distance totals 89.61km and the finish ceremony takes
place in the stadium immediately after the final stage.
Leaderboard after Day 2
1. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 2hr 50min 48.1sec
2. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 2hr 51min 09.2sec
3. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen C4 2hr 51min 40.3sec
4. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 2hr 51min 53.8sec
5. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 52min 02.0sec
6. H Solberg/I Minor NOR Ford Focus RS 2hr 53min 50.9sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 2hr 55min 29.9sec
8. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Subaru Impreza 2hr 56min 24.8sec
9. K Räikkönen/K Lindström FIN Citroen C4 2hr 58min 17.8sec
10= F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 2hr 58min 43.2sec
10= K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 2hr 58min 43.2sec
Bron | M-Sport
Uitslag na dag 1:
Portugal's roads provide tough times for Ford's
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team are well-positioned after today's
demanding opening leg of Rally de Portugal. Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo
Lehtinen lie fourth in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car with
team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila in sixth, after a day
in which the abrasive roads in the hills above the Algarve region forced
drivers to concentrate hard on managing tyre wear.
The good news for Ford's Finnish duo was that temperatures were lower
than expected, putting less of a strain on Pirelli's Scorpion rubber.
However, while the bedrock which forms the base of the roads offered
excellent grip, it was also highly abrasive and drivers had to treat
their tyres carefully to ensure the tread remained intact through the
long competitive sections.
This sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship began last night
when Hirvonen powered into an early lead through a short, but
spectacular, speed test in front of more than 20,000 fans inside Faro's
soccer stadium - the base for the rally. This morning the action moved
into the traditional countryside special stages north of the town.
Drivers tackled two identical loops of three speed tests before
switching off their engines for the day after 130.61km of competition.
Latvala and Hirvonen were second and third respectively in the start
order. It meant they were disadvantaged by the loose gravel on the
surface, which the early starters unwillingly swept clean to leave a
faster line for those behind. Hirvonen ended the morning loop in third
and ceded a place this afternoon to return to Faro 46.9sec from the lead,
and pleased to have a better road position tomorrow.
"I was happy with the car's handling and my driving, and testing on
Monday so close to the rally helped me," said the 29-year-old. "I was in
no rush to catch the guys ahead because I knew third or fourth tonight
would give me a good position in the start order tomorrow. I struggled
with my tyres on the final two stages and I expect that tomorrow's roads
could be even harder for them. Conditions this morning were OK, but the
roads were really abrasive this afternoon and it was tough on the tyres.
"I believe I can fight for a top position. We'll know more after the
first stage in the morning, because we'll know exactly how much the
conditions will disadvantage the cars at the front throughout the rest
of the day," added Hirvonen.
Latvala, winner of the previous round in New
Zealand, was returning to the rally in which he had a massive crash last
year. The 25-year-old believes that may have been on his mind this
morning as he settled into sixth, a position he retained throughout the
"I was too cautious on the opening stage this morning," admitted Latvala.
"I was afraid of tyre wear on the hard roads and maybe last year's
accident was at the back of my mind as well. I wasn't scared, but just
not so confident. I carried two spare wheels but it was cloudy and
cooler than we expected on the stages so there were no tyre wear
concerns. Last year I attacked hard from the start here but that's not
my job this year, and I started to find my confidence on the last stage
of the loop.
"This afternoon was harder for the rubber and I lost the tread on my
rear tyres on the final stage. I knew it was going to happen before the
start of the test so I eased my pace. I'm hard and aggressive on tyres
and I think tomorrow will be even more difficult so I need to find a
calmer rhythm. Perhaps I need to be gentler in my braking because I want
to move up the leaderboard and I can't do that if I damage my tyres," he
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr are 12th in the team's
third car. Al Qassimi, returning to the series for the first time since
February's opening round in Sweden, took time to shake off the rust.
"The road conditions were fast and hard and this morning it was tricky
to find a rhythm, which is vital if I am to build up my confidence. I
was happier with the afternoon, although we grazed the side of a house
at one point, and I'll try to keep the same pace tomorrow," said Al
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson said: "The important
thing tonight was to ensure our drivers were in a good start position
for tomorrow, which will be the toughest leg of the rally. We achieved
that, in conditions that were also very hard, and I'm looking forward to
the advantage of road position resting with us. Both cars ran
faultlessly and that's equally important in an event where attrition
could play a big part in the final outcome."
News from other Ford teams
Stobart M-Sport Ford drivers Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor hold seventh,
despite steering issues, one place ahead of team-mates Matthew Wilson
and Scott Martin. Monster World Rally Team duo Ken Block and Alex
Gelsomino rolled into retirement on the final stage this morning. They
hope to return under SupeRally rules tomorrow. The Ford Fiesta S2000
lies first and second in the S-WRC support category. Finns Jari Ketomaa
and Mika Stenberg lead Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giovanni Bernacchini by
The second leg is based further east but remains in the Serra do
Caldeirão hills, north of Faro. After restarting at 08.10, drivers
tackle two loops of three stages which are split by a return to Faro for
service. They return to the town for the final overnight halt at 17.45
after 135.10km of competition, the longest day of the rally.
Leaderboard after Day 1
1. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 1hr 20min 34.4sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 21min 01.0sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 21min 19.2sec
4. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 21min 21.3sec
5. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen C4 1hr 21min 24.3sec
6. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 21min 37.2sec
7. H Solberg/I Minor NOR Ford Focus RS 1hr 21min 55.1sec
8. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 1hr 22min 29.0sec
9. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Subaru Impreza 1hr 23min 11.7sec
10 K Räikkönen/K Lindström FIN Citroen C4 1hr 23min 52.5sec
Bron | M-Sport
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