Sebastien Ogier, alongside co-driver Julien Ingrassia clinched his third straight win in the WRC season for Volkswagen Motorsport as he overcame a technical difficulties and challenges from Mads Ostberg and Dani Sordo whose fight to the finish ended in a crash. This was Sebastien’s ninth win at WRC and third at the Portugal event.
Sordo was on Ogier’s tail since the start of the race on day two until he damaged the rear end of his DS3 on SS6. The end of Power Stage saw Ogier gather three bonus points and maintain a 54 point lead over Hirovnen who is in second place. His total stands at 102 points. Jari-Matti Latvala in a Volkswagen Polo R faced trouble in the form of a broken driveshaft which caused him to concede his position to Hirvonen.
However he went on to complete the race 3m 06s behind Hirvonen. Considering that this was his first podium finish with the team, Latvala was quite happy with his performance and hoped to better later on in the season.
Sebastien Ogier said, “It’s a perfect result but this week has been really complicated for us. I came here on Monday and wasn’t even sure I would be able to do the rally – I was totally kaput. The team has done a good job because this was a very rough rally and we have had many small problems. They managed to fix the car all the time so big congratulations to them. At the start of the first stage today I thought the rally was over because the clutch was slipping. Finally it came back. It was a kind of miracle.”
Mikko Hirvonen in a Citroen DS3 said, “It’s been a tough day and a tough rally.” He added, “A podium is okay but I wasn’t happy with my pace this weekend. We weren’t fast enough so we must keep working to try and improve.”
Jari-Matti Latvala said, “Third place is my first podium with Volkswagen so I’m happy with that. I had a really good run in the Power Stage and I’m feeling pretty satisfied with the rally.” He added, “So far this year I think I have been in taxi mode. This weekend I decided to force myself to start delivering results. From Argentina onwards I hope to be right there, fighting for victories.”
Evgeny Novikov 4th in a Fiesta RS, and a minute behind Latvala said, “Okay, fourth place is very good for us in the championship. We tried to take what we could. Now we must look at getting quicker. I have some ideas,” he said.
Nasser Al-Attiyah 5th in another Fiesta RS said, “I’m really happy with the performance this weekend. It’s been hard but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to my next race,” he said.
Andreas Mikkelsen 6th on his first event in Volkswagen’s Polo R said, “There are still many more rounds to go and I’m looking forward to Argentina and learning some more,” he said.
Mads Ostberg with 4 points for his 8th place finish said, “Overall the times were good, and even with the crash it’s been a positive event for me.” World Rally Championship heads to Rally Argentina on 1st May, 2013.