Rally Portugal is underway and it is currently the day one midday service.
Dani Sordo led but a slower SS4 handed the lead back to Sebastien Ogier. Ogier hasn’t had it all his own way however as he’s having to road-sweep given he’s the Championship leader and therefore first on the road. Ott Tanak also going strong in fourth as he moves back to WRC this weekend and Kubica was running strongly until, you guessed it, he crashed again.
Monte Carlo: ☑
Mexico: ☑ (x2)
Ott Tanak once again shows up and is giving Hirvonen a run for his money. M-Sport’s “ringers” may be better than their regulars (See also: Bouffier, Guerra)
At the end of day one in Portugal Mikko Hirvonen leads by 3.7 seconds from Ott Tanak, who in turn is 2.8 seconds clear of Sebastien Ogier, meaning the World Champion slipped from first to third in one stage. However knowing Ogier I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is just a trick to avoid being first on the road and therefore to avoid road-sweeping again.
The day has also been littered with incidents. Henning Solberg and Juho Hanninen have suffered punctures while Elfyn Evans, Kris Meeke, Jari-Matti Latvala and Robert Kubica have all crashed out and are set to re-enter under super-rally rules tomorrow.
Meanwhile Hyundai have taken their first stage win and thanks to Dani Sordo have led a rally for the first time since their comeback, he now lies in fifth behind Mads Ostberg. Thierry Neuville is sixth with Henning Solberg seventh, Juho Hanninen eighth, Andreas Mikkelsen ninth – who has been playing it safe after his Mexico nightmare – and Martin Prokop rounds out the top ten.
Fingers crossed for Hirvonen, but I’m pretty sure Ogier will snatch it in the end :/
For those interested, stage 1-3 highlights:
It would seem the cars are actually running in reverse rally order, with the retirees running first and Hirvonen last of the main WRC cars through the stage.
So perhaps Ogier wasn’t playing a game yesterday.
After SS9 Ogier has re-taken the lead and Robert Kubica has crashed for a second time
Disaster! Ott Tanak has gone off from third place!
As if crashing and taking himself out wasn’t bad enough Kubica also tried to ruin it for everyone else by blocking the road, although quite ingenious…
Also note that the force of Latvala’s accident was enough to remove his specially fitted glasses… wow
Robert Kubica 2014 WRCC (World Rally Crashing Championship) checklist:
Monte Carlo: ☑
Sweden: ☑ ☑ ☑
Portugal: ☑ ☑
@magnificent-geoffrey – Surely Robert’s already won that Championship?!
At the end of day two Sebastien Ogier leads by 38.1 seconds from Mikko Hirvonen (who will probably retire on the power stage again now he’s doing well) with Mads Ostberg a further 48.6 seconds back in third. Dani Sordo runs fourth in the Hyundai but teammates Juho Hanninen and Thierry Neuville both suffered issues. Hanninen had two punctures and a broken driveshaft and is now down in eighth while Neuville is ninth having broken a suspension link on the penultimate stage and had to nurse through the remainder of it and the final one losing more than five minutes.
Meanwhile Kubica may have gone off the road this morning but he could have rejoined, had he not burned out the clutch doing so…
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