Just as was the case in Turkey and New Zealand, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia end a day leading the overall classification. The Citroën Junior Team crew set five fastest times in seven stages and now hold a 26.6-second lead over Dani Sordo and Marc Marti in second. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström finish the first day in 10th place.
The opening day of the Rally de Portugal started with a televised spectator superspecial on Thursday night at the Estadio Algarve, accommodating a capacity of 30,000 people. Driving their gravelspecification Citroën C4 WRCs on asphalt, Sébastien Ogier and Kimi Räikkönen set sixth and ninth fastest times respectively.
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström had to deal with a set-up that was a bit too soft for the opening loop of stages. “I was surprised by the level of grip,” said Kimi. “We didn’t think that the conditions would be like this. We’re going to change the set-up to suit the stages more. I also think that our notes could
sometimes be better. The second loop should be a little easier for us.”
As expected, Kimi Räikkönen upped his pace during the course of the afternoon. Over the three stages, he steadily reduced his time gap to the pacesetters. “Even though the roads were a bit rougher, I was able to get a bit quicker,” he reported. “I’m pleased with how the first day has gone. We’re continuing to improve and the times are gradually getting better. Now we just need to carry on like this tomorrow.”
“It’s been another great day from Sébastien Ogier,” concluded Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier. “ The Citroën Junior Team is leading a WRC event for the third consecutive time, which is a huge source of satisfaction for all of us. Kimi started the rally sensibly and then improved his pace in the afternoon. After a long time out of the car, he is getting back into the swing of things calmly and with confidence. He is approaching the rally in an intelligent way. ”