Ogier claims hat-trick of WRC wins in Portugal
Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sebastien Ogier has claimed his third consecutive World Rally Championship win with victory on Rally Portugal.
Having already won in Sweden and Mexico, Ogier now holds a 54-point cushion over Hirvonen in the championship who finished second in Portugal behind the wheel of his Citroen DS3.
“Unbelievable. What a rollercoaster ride here in Portugal!” Ogier claimed.
“I am overjoyed with the win. First the illness, then the brutal stages, which really push a rally car to the very limit.
“When we had the problem with the power transmission on this morning’s opening stage, I thought: ‘That’s it Séb. The rally is over.’ Fortunately we made it to the service and the guys did a fantastic job there.
“I will now try to get as much rest and regain as much strength as possible in time for Argentina.”
Ogier’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala had to surrender second place overall after a broken front-right drive shaft forced him to contest the 52.30-kilometre Almodovar stage (the longest in the WRC) with rear-wheel drive only.
He did, however, overcame the hindrance to hold off Qatar M-Sport driver Evgeny Novikov and earn his place on the podium.
Olympic skeet shooting medallist slash WRC regular Nasser Al-Attiyah also led the way for the Qatar World Rally Team squad as they brought their Ford Fiesta RS home in fifth.
“Fourth place is a very good result for us, but still I was not so happy with the times. It was a difficult weekend for us. I was pushing on the stages but for some reason the times just weren’t where they needed to be,” said Novikov.
“This [fourth place] is definitely the maximum I could have achieved this weekend, so I am happy with that. Now we just need to make sure we work hard and come back stronger in Argentina.”
Esapekka Lappi ended up taking a dominant victory in the WRC2 category, however it was former F1 race winner Robert Kubica who impressed after moving into second on the opening day before a multitude of technical issues saw stop to a podium result on debut.
“For my first gravel rally, I think I have shown good pace on the stages where I didn’t have any problems,” said Kubica.
“Overall, it has been pretty positive, although we have been a bit unlucky at times.”
The next round of the World Rally Championship starts in less that three weeks when Rally Argentina gets underway on 1 May.
2013 WRC Rally Portugal Results
|1||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen||15||4h 07:38.7|
2013 WRC drivers’ standings
2013 WRC manufacturers’ standings
|2||Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT||107|
|3||Qatar M-Sport WRT||55|
|4||Qatar World Rally Team||36|
|5||Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT||27|
|6||Jipocar Czech National Team||22|
|7||Lotos Rally Team||12|
|8||Volkswagen Motorsport II||10|
Video highlights from Stages 12 and 13 on Sunday
Video highlights from the final two stages on Sunday