The inside line: Vodafone Rally de Portugal

The inside line: Vodafone Rally de Portugal

Star training
It becomes a bit of a theme, doesn’t it?

Kalle Rovanperä is in fine form at the moment and his triumph in Portugal was arguably his most impressive yet.

The 21-year-old has once again proven to us why he has all the attributes of a future world champion. Victory despite sweeping the road for everyone on Friday? Now that’s easier said than done.

Three rallies. Three different surfaces. Three wins. Can anyone stop it?

The most memorable stage
The second passage of the 37.24 km Amarante test on Saturday afternoon undoubtedly shaped the rally.

High temperatures and rough roads meant that there wasn’t much tread left on anyone’s Pirelli tires. After Elfyn Evans passed Rovanperä by 8.2 seconds on the opening pass, we expected something similar to happen again in the afternoon.

But that was not the case. In the pouring rain, Evans finished 13.9 seconds slower than the Finn, giving his teammate the lead for the first time this week.

The battle of the Sébs ended prematurely

The biggest surprise
The stage was set for another torrid battle between the two Sebs. Unfortunately, Portugal did not go as planned for Messrs. Ogier and Loeb.

Loeb was the first to go on Friday when he hit a wall with his Puma while leading the rally. Ogier followed soon after after running out of spare wheels in his Yaris.

The last time the two legends retired on the same day was at Rally Australia in 2011.

One to forget
There were high hopes for M-Sport Ford star Craig Breen, but things just didn’t go his way. Two punctures, a brief pit stop and brake issues on the final day saw the Irishman finish a modest eighth.

Big things were expected of Breen at the start of this year, but for now, we’re still waiting for him to break his duck of victory.

Breen struggled

Photo of the rally
Don’t worry, we didn’t time travel to the 1980s. Or maybe we have?

The FIA ​​World Rally Championship celebrated its historic 50th season in 2022 and Portugal was the focal point of the half-century festivities.

Here is double WRC champion Walter Röhrl driving his Audi Sport Quattro at Fafe on Sunday.

Nearly 30 historic cars joined the WRC’s 50th anniversary celebrations

Better backup
Takamoto Katsuta rode a stunning rally and only missed the podium by a few seconds.

Things could have turned out very differently if it hadn’t been for a nice stop in Góis on Friday. Katsuta snagged the right front wheel of his Yaris in a right turn, but the road caved in and nearly drove the car into a steep ditch.

Cool as a cucumber, the 29-year-old stopped the car before it was too late, spun it around and drove on.

rally quote
“You must be proud of yourself. Don’t be sad! You are going to score many podiums, my friend. Enjoy your career.”

That’s what Dani Sordo said to a distraught Katsuta after robbing him of third place on the Wolf Power Stage.

Of course, there are fierce rivalries in the WRC. But, when the helmets come off, there are also special friendships.

Sordo was the first to console Katsuta after Sunday’s final

You will never believe it
A WRC2 car set the fastest overall time on the Porto – Foz super special.

Few can say they were 7.5 seconds quicker than the fastest Rally1 car on a stage, but Josh McErlean can. The dry road conditions certainly played their part, but we’re not taking anything away from the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 driver.

Rally number
0.7. It was the time, in seconds, that separated the seven leading riders on the first lap of Góis. And it’s after almost 20 km against the clock… of madness.

fun fact
The WRC2 podium was entirely made up of rookies in 2022: Yohan Rossel, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Chris Ingram.

#line #Vodafone #Rally #Portugal

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