The gloves were off on the final showdown for vital WRC bonus points. With Thierry Neuville out of the equation with no power and the turbo issue, seven Rally1 drivers were aiming for the fastest time. The Belgian started the stage before the leading six WRC2 entrants and the remaining Rally1 and was able to confirm fifth overall before the real battle started behind.
Oliver Solberg pushed to the limit to try and overhaul Gus Greensmith. He set the fastest time in WRC2 and beat the Briton by 7.4 seconds. But it was not enough and Greensmith won his second event of the season by 1.2 seconds.
Takamoto Katsuta posted the Power Stage target of 6min 29.538sec and was guaranteed at least one point when Pierre-Louis Loubet ran slower by 4.054 seconds. Ott Tänak was quicker than the Japanese by 2.285 seconds and he stayed ahead of Esapekka Lappi by 1.818 seconds to guarantee at least three bonus points. Lappi reached the stage finish with smoke coming from the rear of the i20.
Dani Sordo confirmed second overall but was not able to beat Tänak and that opened the door for Kalle Rovanperä to try and wrap up the win in style. The Finn didn’t disappoint and stormed to a second win in Portugal by 54.7 seconds with five bonus points on the Power Stage with a time of 6min 26.536sec.
Car 11. NEUVILLE/WYDAEGHE
“Let’s try to make it short. This is what rallying is all about, ups and downs. Rallying is still one of the most
crucial sports in the world. We have situations like this but it is not easy. Congratulations to the organisers.
They have done an incredible job and the spectators, they were perfect.”
Car 69. ROVANPERÄ/HALTTUNEN
“It has been too long coming and finally we are back. A big thanks to Jonne and the team, They have
been pushing all the time well. Now we are back. Happy Mother’s Day (in Finland) and especially to my
Car 8. TÄNAK/JÄRVEOJA
“Very demanding weekend obviously. It was challenging and we have some great weaknesses at the
moment that we need to get sorted. It’s a big challenge for the next two weeks to get these sorted. Now
the engineer need to get it sorted. It’s up to them now.”
Car 6. SORDO/CARRERA
“I think we drove very well. I want to say thanks to Craig (Breen). He was with me all the rally and he
pushed me to the limits. I give this result to his mom and dad. I did this for them.”
Car 4. LAPPI/FERM
Smoke at rear of car….”Maybe it’s the turbo…”
Car 18. KATSUTA/JOHNSTON
“To be honest I was a little bit chicken on the jump. I could have gone more. After the Friday problem, we
were cleaning a lot. At the next rally I try to push and get a good result.”
Car 7. LOUBET/LANDAIS
“We can be disappointed about the final result unfortunately. I did a small mistake with big consequences.
We will take the fact that the pace was good on Friday. This one I felt a small puncture at the beginning.
We need to reset and start in Sardinia again. I hope a good result next time.”
Car 20. GREENSMITH/ANDERSSON
“That’s a bit close…..”
Car 21. SOLBERG/EDMONDSON
“I tried anyway. I drive too slow on the long stage. I wished to take more. It has been a great weekend
really. Consistent and a good speed. Second place is not worth anything for me really.”
Car 23. SUNINEN/MARKKULA
“There is always some time left on the stage. I was a little bit struggling on the rear. I was quite happy
with the run. The rally was good for us and the pace was on a good level. Unfortunately, we had a puncture
and lost the game.”
Car 24. MIKKELSEN/ERIKSEN
“It feels good to be on the podium. Disappointing with the first day. We changed set-up today to test for
Sardinia. I still struggle to find the sweet spot on the car like we did with the old one.”
Car 26. ROSSEL/DUNAND
“My feel is the same during two days. It is like that. Sometimes you win and sometimes you get some
points for the championship. We need to work on the car and find out why I have no grip.”
Car 35. BULACIA/VALLEJO
“It was a pretty good weekend. We had some issues over the past three days but this is normal in a very
tough rally. We had an issue today but were more or less on the pace.”
Car 37. MCERLEAN/ROWEN
“Fafe is always spectacular. Good to be back in the car again after so many weeks. The rallying
community has been a bit broken after the passing of Craig. It’s been a good weekend.”