WRC - Rally de Portugal 2012

Discussion in 'Motor Sports' started by Dhillon, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Jari-Matti Latvala holds a narrow lead at the end of the opening evening of the Rally of Portugal, while Sebastien Loeb is already out of the event. Championship leader Loeb was third after the first two stages, but crashed heavily on SS3 when he misunderstood a pace note - damaging his Citroen's rollcage and forcing him to retire from the whole event.
    Yesterday Ford had elected to choose lowly road positions while the Citroens decided to open the road, as the latter reckoned dust would cause visibility issues on the night stages for those running down the order, whereas Ford thought the surface would have cleaned thoroughly by the time its works cars came through if it went late in the list.
    In the event, changing weather meant there was little to choose between the two strategies. Ford had better grip on the first two stages of the night, but struggled in the slippery conditions of SS4 after a heavy rain shower hit.
    But ultimately it was Ford that led the event as the day closed, with Latvala 2.6 seconds ahead of team-mate Petter Solberg, and Citroen's remaining contender Mikko Hirvonen just 5s off the top spot in third.
    "I think overall it's been a good evening. It's not been an easy evening, but I think our positions have paid off," said Latvala.
    M-Sport Ford's Ott Tanak is still within 15s of the lead in fourth, having been quick all night and beaten all the works cars to a stage win on SSS4.
    Fellow rising star Thierry Neuville is next up in fifth for Citroen Junior, followed by Mads Ostberg, whose Adapta Ford was delayed by an SS3 puncture.
    It has been a bad night for Mini. Prodrive's Dani Sordo stopped with electrical problems before SS3, and local favourite Armindo Araujo spent five minutes off the road in his Motorsport Italia car on SS2, leaving only Sordo's team-mate Patrik Sandell in contention for the marque. Sandell finished the leg in 11th.


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  2. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Bad weather halts Rally of Portugal

    The Rally of Portugal has been stopped due to the bad weather, with the leading crews being held at the service park in Faro.
    The event is expected to restart in the next hour, with the delay caused by the flooding of a river crossing after the sixth stage of the event. The day's final stage has been cancelled. Many crews at the back of the field have been re-routed away from the river and directly back to service.
    An additional headache for the organisers is a refuel which was situated after the river crossing. Unable to reach the refuelling point, some of the cars would have run out of petrol before arriving back on the Algarve. In order to avoid this, a four-wheel drive vehicle has been sent into the area with fuel tanks and a hand pump to dispense fuel and keep the event running.
    A spokesman for the rally said: "We will not let the leading cars go out again until we have all the cars back in from the first loop of stages."
    There had been some concern that all three of the afternoon's stages might have been lost, but the spokesman said: "This is very unlikely. Because we have cancelled the final stage, we have enough time to get the cars out and running on the next two stages."
    The re-run Tavira and Alcarias stages are still shrouded in fog and rain. The river crossing after Alcarias and before the Sao Bras de Alportel test is still too deep to cross, which is why the final stage has been cancelled.
    The spokesman added: "These conditions have been very difficult and they continue to be so, but we will have the event running again very soon."
    When the event is running, Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen will lead the event from private Ford driver Mads Ostberg.
     

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