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RallySport Magazine May 2017

  • Text
  • Rally
  • Rallysport
  • Subaru
  • Championship
  • Drivers
  • Stages
  • Rallying
  • Toyota
  • Audi
  • Hyundai
The May 2017 issue of RallySport Magazine features: News / Regulars: * National Capital Rally preview * Vale: Timo Makinen * Five minutes with - Ross Tapper * Martin Holmes column * Photo of the month Feature stories: * Molly Taylor column * Head and neck safety * Subaru’s RS Challenge - a look back * Audi Magic - Dylan Turner’s Quattro S1 AP4 * A Kiwi in Argentina * A WRC hijacking in Sanremo Event reports: * WA Forest Rally - ARC 2 * Rally of Whangarei - NZRC 2 * Southern Rally - SARC 1 * Rally of Argentina - WRC 5 * Rally of Portugal - WRC 6 * Mitta Mountain Rally


REPORT: RALLY OF PORTUGAL - WRC 6 World Champion Sebastien Ogier scored his 40th WRC career victory and his second of the year after overcoming the usual first day stage opening handicap, overtaking the leader Ott Tanak on the second full day. Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo joined him on the podium. Surprise winner of the WRC2 category was Pontus Tidemand who took his fourth category win of the season after inheriting the lead when Andreas Mikkelsen crashed on the final stage. All four 2017 WRC manufacturers had cars in the lead in the first five stages and nine drivers scored stage fastest or shared best times, and six different drivers led the event in the first 24 hours, before the rally settled down. Craig Breen scored his fourth successive fifth place of the season and Esapekka Lappi finished in the Drivers’ points on his first event in a World Rally Car. By general consent, even though this was WRC round 6, Portugal is where the 2017 season effectively starts, the end of the events specialised through their circumstance. Now faced the traditional challenge of tough gravel special stages. There was delightful late spring weather for which the country is famous. That much was predictable, but what came as a huge surprise was the intensely tight battle at the start of the event. Each of the four teams registered full three car entries (Citroen and M-Sport with fourth non-scoring entries as well), and for the first time there were three earlier model World Rally Cars in the privateer WRC Trophy category. The variety of conditions experienced in the loop of three stages done on the Friday morning eased the task faced by first driver on the road, Ogier, who was happy to return to base on Friday evening no further back than third place, behind Tanak and Sordo, respectively running fourth and fifth on the road. From that moment onwards Ogier set about his task of recovering until he was in front three stages later, at half distance, helped when Tanak hit a bank and damaged his rear suspension, and was in the lead, where he stayed to the end. The prospect of an M-Sport 1-2 was quickly thwarted by the Hyundai drivers (two of whom Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo) who had good runs, while their teammate Hayden Paddon had a series of problems (electrical and ultimately steering). Tanak finished fourth behind the Hyundais, so M-Sport pulled another four points further ahead of Hyundai in 50 | RALLYSPORT MAGAZINE - MAY 2017 The podium finishers take a group selfie. the Manufacturers’ championship. Running as a non-scoring driver, Mads Ostberg made his second appearance with the OneBetJipocar 2017 Fiesta, sharing the overall lead on the Thursday evening super special stage, and then discovering the technique for driving DMack tyres, which he contracted to use two days before the start. Ostberg dropped down to 16 th with a puncture on the Friday afternoon, but finally ended eighth. The tale of Toyota was sublime. Thierry Neuville Their lead driver, Jari-Matti Latvala, was desperately unwell for the first two days, at one point going off the road, but he soldiered on. On the Saturday evening he was taken to hospital where he stayed overnight, being intravenously dripped with restorative fluids. He restarted the rally on the Sunday morning with renewed energy, eventually finishing ninth. This was the first event with a third Toyota entry for Esapekka Lappi and on one stage Lappi was actually the top running Toyota driver. On the next

Esapekka Lappi Ott Tanak Elfyn Evans stage, however, he lost five minutes after hitting a wall. It was a splendid WRCar debut, finishing 10th. Juho Hanninen was the top placed Toyota driver at the end, in seventh position. Over at Citroen the shining light once again was Craig Breen. Again their leading driver, Kris Meeke, was less than impressive, giving signs of lack of motivation, but he had his moments, like making fastest time (and actually leading the rally), but also by sliding into a substantial roadside concrete bollard. Stephane Lefebvre continued an unhappy season by going off the road again. On this occasion the team patron, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, was in action for the first time in a C3 WRC and gradually discovered the art of driving these new cars. In the WRC Trophy category, Martin Prokop was in a class of his own. The only other one of these finishers was Jean-Michel Raoux in his Citroen DS3 after Valeriy Gorban failed to complete the road section back to service after the final stage. Ogier had an explanation for his win: “I had a new car in Monte Carlo and we won, we had a new car here and we won. I’m not sure he (Malcolm Wilson) can afford to give me a new car every rally!” In WRC Andreas Mikkelsen led all the way from the first stage until just after the start of the PowerStage when he went off the road! He had been three minutes in front of the battling pair of Pontus Tidemand and Teemu Suninen, who finished 11.2 seconds apart. 2017 Rally of Portugal - WRC round 6 1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia Ford Fiesta WRC 3h42m55.7s 2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +15.6s 3 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1m01.7s 4 Ott Tänak/Martin Jarveoja Ford Fiesta WRC +1m30.2s 5 Craig Breen/Scott Martin Citroen C3 WRC +1m57.4s 6 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt Ford Fiesta WRC +3m10.6s 7 Juho Hänninen/Kaj Lindström Toyota Yaris WRC +3m48.6s 8 Mads Østberg/Ola Floene Ford Fiesta WRC +5m29.7s 9 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +5m43.6s 10 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm Toyota Yaris WRC +8m13.3s FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ standings (after Rd 6): 1. Sébastien Ogier 128, 2. Thierry Neuville 106, 3. Jari-Matti Latvala 88, 4. Ott Tänak 83, 5. Dani Sordo 66, 6. Elfyn Evans 53, 7. Craig Breen 43, 8. Hayden Paddon 33, 9. Kris Meeke 27, 10. Juho Hänninen 21. FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ standings (after Rd 6): 1. M-Sport World Rally Team 199, 2. Hyundai Motorsport 173, 3. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 113, 4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 85. Craig Breen was again the best placed Citroen. MAY 2017 - RALLYSPORT MAGAZINE | 51

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