Volkswagen made a dream start to Rally Portugal tonight with the top three fastest times for the opening 3.27 km Super Special in Estoril. Sébastien Ogier was fastest from team mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. Having started on asphalt, the remaining 15 special stages will take place on gravel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
But here’s the best story. Way back in 2008 at this very same event a young and inexperienced Sébastien Ogier approached the rally organisers. He wanted to take part in the ‘Recce’, just so that he could check out the special stages for future reference. Unfortunately, the fee was 1,000 Euros.
João Passos, who was responsible for the recce - and still is nowadays – struck a deal with the young whippersnapper. He allowed him to take part in the ‘Recce’ free of charge, on one condition. If he was crowned World Champion at any point in the future, he had to pay up.
This year, Sebastien kept that promise, and paid the ‘outstanding’ fee in the form of a donation. The money went to the voluntary fire service in Estoril, where the ceremonial start of the rally took place today. Nice one seb.