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Ford duo top Rally Portugal qualifying

Speedcafe.com

Thursday 29th March, 2012 - 8:03am

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Jari-Matti Latvala fastest in Portugal qualifying

Jari-Matti Latvala has topped qualifying for Rally de Portugal ahead of Ford World Rally Team team-mate Petter Solberg over the 4.96km speed test near Faro.

The qualifying session allows the drivers to pick their starting position for the opening leg of competition with Latvala choosing 17th on the road, with Solberg to start one place ahead.

The theory of starting down the order will allow the Ford duo to have swept roads and the anticipated faster conditions.

That theory was dismissed by Citroen’s Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb, who set the third and fourth fastest times in qualifying, but choose the top two starting positions for tonight’s three stages which total 30km.

A dry winter in Portugal has meant the gravel roads are rough and dust is expected to be an issue.

“The organisers have told us there will be no dust in the stages tomorrow night and that’s why we have made our decision,” said Latvala.

Rally officials will send water trucks over the first three gravel stages in an effort to curb the dust issue.

“We have taken the safest option,” said Hirvonen.

“If we are unlucky and the road is cleaning badly then it’s only three stages and 30 kilometre, so it would be tough on those stages, but not for the whole rally.

“But if there is dust or if there is rain then it’s better to be first on the road.”

The running order for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be reversed with the slower seeded cars running first.

The rally totals 22 stages covering 434.77km of competition.

Rally de Portugal Qualifying times

Pos Driver Car Time
1 Jari-Matti Latvala Ford   Fiesta RS 3:01.884
2 Petter Solberg Ford   Fiesta RS 3:03.655
3 Mikko Hirvonen Citroen DS3 3:04.232
4 Sebastien Loeb Citroen DS3 3:04.249
5 Ott Tanak Ford   Fiesta RS 3:04.582
6 Evgeny Novikov Ford   Fiesta RS 3:05.754
7 Dani Sordo Mini John Cooper 3:05.789
8 Jari Ketomaa Ford   Fiesta RS 3:05.921
9 Mads   Østberg Ford   Fiesta RS 3:05.968
10 Thierry Neuville Citroen DS3 3:06.142

 

Rally de Portugal Leg 1 : Running order:

1. Mikko Hirvonen

2. Sebastien Loeb

3. Ott Tanak

4. Dani Sordo

5. Jari Ketomaa

6. Thierry Neuville

7. Armindo Araujo

8. Martin Prokop

9. Nasser Al-Attiyah

10. Daniel Oliveira

11. Peter van Merksteijn

12. Dennis Kuipers

13. Patrik Sandell

14. Mads Ostberg

15. Evgeny Novikov

16. Petter Solberg

17. Jari-Matti Latvala

 

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