Rally de Portugal - Day 3

31th May 2010
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have taken their first victory in the FIA World Rally Championship at the end of the Rally de Portugal. This great result puts the Citroën Junior Team crew into second place in the World Championship for drivers. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström have finished in the points for the third consecutive time. Having led the Rally de Portugal since the end of SS3, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia started the third and final day of the event with a 21.1-second cushion over Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena. The Citroën Junior Team crew were once more faced with the onerous task of being first on the road today. Throughout the opening loop of stages, the number 7 Citroën C4 WRC managed to resist the pressure to return to the service park with a 10.1-second advantage over their pursuers. “We tried not to take any stupid risks this morning,” said the Frenchman at the midday service halt. “From the start of the rally, we’ve not had any big moments even though we’ve been quite close to the limit. We expected to lose time through being first on the road today. Now we’re going to try to stay in front again this afternoon, but the road conditions should be less of a disadvantage. We all know what Seb is capable of but I’m going to be trying my hardest!” In Felizes 2 (SS16), Sébastien Ogier was able to more or less match the time set by Sébastien Loeb, just dropping 0.6 seconds, and he continued in Loulé 2 (SS17) by losing only 1.8 seconds. By the time he got to the final spectator superspecial the Citroën Junior Team driver still had a lead of 7.7 seconds, allowing him to seal victory over the last two kilometres of the rally in a 30,000 capacity stadium. “ We pushed all the way to the end, ” he said afterwards. “ It’s a huge satisfaction to win. I have to thank the entire team: this is a massive moment for me. We came very close to winning in New Zealand but now we are on the top step of the podium, which has allowed us to move up to second in the World Rally Championship for drivers.” Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström continued their progress today despite a scare at the end of the morning. “ We cut a corner and the car went onto two wheels, ” said Kimi. “ We risked rolling, but the car landed back on its wheels and we picked up a puncture. After that, I just wanted to be sure of making the finish. There was nothing more to gain apart from another points finish. All the knowledge we acquired over the weekend will help us to accumulate more experience, which is essential. ” Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded: “Victory was never an objective for our team but it’s a fantastic gift that fate has bestowed on us here. Sébastien deserved this success as he has driven a fantastic rally since the shakedown. He has seen off the person who is undoubtedly the best rally driver in the world, all the time while running first on the road. This victory does not change the objectives of the Citroën Junior Team though. We’re going to continue down our chosen path so that Sébastien and Kimi can continue to make progress.” THE RALLY BY NUMBERS Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia Kimi Räikkönen / Kaj Lindström SS14: Felizes 1 (21.28 km) 2nd +6’’2 1st 11th +59’’6 9th +8’23’’1 SS15: Loulé 1 (22.51 km) 2nd +4’’8 1st 10th +52’’3 8th +9’10’’6 SS16: Felizes 2 (21.28 km) 2nd +0’’6 1st 13th +1’30’’0 10th +10’40’’0 SS17: Loulé 2 (22.51 km) 3rd +1’’8 1st 11th +57’’0 10th +11’35’’2 SS18: Estadio Algarve 2 (2.03 km) 6th +2’’0 1st 3rd +1’’1 10th +11’34’’3 Fastest stage times Day 1 – SS1: Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Focus) – SS2: Dani Sordo (Citroën C4) – SS3 to SS7: Sébastien Ogier (Citroën C4). Day 2 – SS8 to SS9: Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C4) – SS10: Petter Solberg (Citroën C4) – SS11: Ogier – SS12 to SS13: Loeb. Day 3 – SS14 to SS17: Loeb – SS18: Villagra. Best performers: Loeb 8 fastest times – Ogier 6 – Sordo, P. Solberg, Hirvonen and Villagra 1. Leaders: SS1: Hirvonen – SS2: Sordo – SS3 to SS18: Ogier. Provisional final classification 1. Ogier / Ingrassia Citroën C4 2:50’48’’1 2. Loeb / Elena Citroën C4 +7’’9 3. Sordo / Marti Citroën C4 +1’17’’6 4. Hirvonen / Lehtinen Ford Focus +1’32’’0 5. P. Solberg / Mills Citroën C4 +1’35’’7 6. Wilson / Martin Ford Focus +7’10’’1 7. Ostberg / Andersson Subaru Impreza +7’28’’3 8. Villagra / Perez Companc Ford Focus +10’36’’1 9. Al Qassimi / Orr Ford Focus +10’55’’8 10. Räikkönen / Lindström Citroën C4 +11’34’’3...