Not that we're biased in this country, but there were no last minute surprises on the Rally de Portugal which finished earlier today, with the Volkswagen team securing a lock-out on the podium.
That meant our heroes, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were consigned to fourth in their Citroen DS3, but still best of the rest. As for Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt, this was an event to forget, although some valuable mileage generated more encouragement for the M-Sport team with the New Fiesta. A fact reinforced by Ott Tanak's fifth overall placing. Dani Sordo too had a good run into sixth place with the Hyundai.
Winner Jari-Matti Latvala said afterwards: “That was a very important win! Not just for me, but for the entire team. That was the right response to the poor result in Argentina. For me personally, it was important to get back in the points after my long lean period – and to do that with a win is awesome. It was an exciting battle with Sébastien Ogier, who really put us under pressure. However, I resisted it at the crucial moment.”
At the fin ish Sébastien Ogier said: “We can be proud of our performance this weekend. Julien and I really did not have easy conditions here in Portugal, but we still made the most of what we had. From a driving point of view, that was possibly one of my best rallies. And second place extends our lead in the World Championship. That is important. Congratulations to Jari-Matti, who was particularly strong on the all-important penultimate stage. I would obviously have preferred to pick up my fifth win and pulled level with Markku Alén, but in the end it was not worth risking everything. The World Championship remains our priority.”
Rally Portugal – Final Results
1. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, 3h 30m 35.3s
2. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, + 8.2s
3. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), Volkswagen, + 28.6s
4. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën, + 48.7s
5. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 1m 56.8s
6. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 2m 27.9s
7. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Citroën, + 2m 32.2s
8. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 2m 54.3s
9. Robert Kubica/Maciej Szczepaniak (PL/PL), Ford, + 4m 39.1s
10. Martin Prokop/Jan Tománek (CZ/CZ), Ford, + 7m 31.2s