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Portugal - 19-22 May 16

Posted: May 21, 2016 5:12 PM - 3967 Hits

Round 5 - 2016 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Portugal 2016) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally de Portugal

First stage each day (Portugal is in the same time zone as Irish/UK Times)
SS1 Thu - 19:01
SS2 Fri - 09:20
SS10 Sat - 09:42
SS16 Sun - 07:04

Osian’s World Rally Championship dream is alive

Posted: May 17, 2016 9:38 AM

Welsh rally star Osian Pryce will return to the World Rally Championship next week with his eyes firmly fixed on the sport’s biggest prize.

The 23-year-old is competing in this year’s Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy (DDFT), which means five WRC rallies in a Ford Fiesta R2T against the best competition from around the world.

The first round is next week’s Vodafone Rally of Portugal (May 19-22), run in the north of the country on fast gravel roads around Porto.

DDFT victory in 2016 would give Osian and co-driver Dale Furniss the keys to the next step on the road to rallying glory: a full season of WRC2 competition next year. WRC2 is the feeder series for the World Rally Championship itself.

“I’m so excited about this season,” said Pryce, “we’ve waited a long time for this opportunity and now Dale and I are going to grab it with both hands.”

WRC action is nothing new for Osian, who played a starring role on the first two Junior WRC rounds last season, before mechanical problems halted his charge in Portugal then cost him a win in Poland.

Those disappointments are behind him now.

“What happened last year is history,” said Osian. “What I do take from those two events is experience. Twelve months ago, I was going to Portugal, my first foreign world championship event ever, and I really didn’t know what to expect. I must admit, I was really nervous this time last year. But then I got there and Dale and I were on the pace – that has helped to really settle me down for this season.”

DDFT is a joint venture between DMACK Tyres and two-time World Rally Champion firm M-Sport.

All the Ford Fiesta R2Ts are prepared to an identical specification and run by M-Sport on DMACK rubber for the five rallies to come.

Osian and Dale met their fellow DDFT crews at a two-day induction course at M-Sport’s impressive Dovenby Hall base in Cumbria.

“Spending the two days up there was really useful,” said Osian, “we got to meet everybody, including the engineers and guys from M-Sport and we got to do some workshops and a bit of training.

“One of the most impressive and exciting things was knowing who had walked through that front door at M-Sport before us – drivers like Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and Marcus Gronholm. I know we are in a completely different situation to the one they were in, but that’s our target and a place like Dovenby Hall really inspires you to achieve and fulfill your goals.”

Osian tested a Ford Fiesta R2T for the first time this week.

“I started competing in a Fiesta,” he said, “but this is a very different car to that one. This R2T’s an amazing piece of engineering – with plenty of power coming from a one-litre, three-cylinder engine. The chassis is fantastic and really rewarding to drive. I only did half a day testing the car, but that was enough for me to know I’ve made the right move this year.”

Osian and Dale’s five-part adventure starts from Matosinhos, near Porto, in Portugal on Thursday (May 19).

“Fafe”, fans and favourites – Volkswagen ready for exciting WRC race in Portugal

Posted: May 17, 2016 9:36 AM

Looking ahead to what promises to be a spine-tingling experience – Volkswagen travels to the Rally Portugal with fond memories of the event. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) are undefeated since 2013 with the Polo R WRC at round five of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), which takes place from 19 to 22 May 2016. Last year, Volkswagen claimed a one-two-three here and finished first, second and third on the Power Stage to become the first manufacturer to score a maximum 122 points. Points aside, the passionate fans in the north of Portugal traditionally provide an extra boost of adrenalin – particularly at the infamous jump on the “Fafe” special stage, which tens of thousands of fans transform into a rally festival each year.

“A one-two-three last year, plus the top three times on the Power Stage – a year ago, we enjoyed the most successful rally to date with the Polo R WRC in Portugal,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “It is not every day you score maximum points in the World Rally Championship – and this season has already shown emphatically just how exciting the rallies are, most recently in Argentina. I am sure that the Rally Portugal will be another round of the WRC with all four manufacturers involved in exciting battles for position. That is no more than the countless passionate fans who make this rally so extraordinary deserve.”

Excitement guaranteed: all the top teams in action at first European gravel race of season

A hard, dry clay surface, topped with loose sand – the drivers face a challenging mix at the Rally Portugal in the region around Porto. The rule of thumb for the state of the route: if it is dry, the later-starting World Rally Cars benefit, because the grip levels increase as the loose sand is swept from the road. In contrast, the early starters stand to benefit if it rains. Either way, the current World Championship standings mean Volkswagen has all bases covered in terms of starting positions. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia open the route as World Championship leaders, while Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger start fourth and last year’s winners Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila are sixth onto the route.

This also adds extra spice to the tight four-way battle for second place in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship: as well as Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ, Hyundai), the current runners-up in the overall standings, Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N, M-Sport-Ford), Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E, Hyundai) are also hungry to take their place at the head of the chasing pack. These four pairings are currently separated by just 13 points. The return of rivals Citröen, making their first appearance on gravel of 2016, will only add to the excitement. Not only do they have a fast duo in Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), but can also look forward to what at first glance looks like the ideal starting position. Fans can also look forward to a repeat of Argentina’s battle between Ogier and Paddon, who are both first onto the route this time out.

Same again, please: route almost identical to last year

361.48 kilometres are identical, 6.52 kilometres are new – 98.23 per cent of the route for the 2016 Rally Portugal is the same as the 2015 race. The changes can be summed up in a nutshell: as well as the new “Porto Street Stage” spectator stage, which is 1.85 kilometres long and tackled twice, the final 1.41 kilometres of the 22.47-kilometre “Vieira do Minho”, which winds between massive crags and is also run twice, are also new. The remaining 15 special stages are unchanged from last year. These include some real classics: the 27.44-kilometre “Ponte de Lima” and “Amarante” – at 37.67 kilometres against the clock, the longest stage of the rally. The “Lousada” stage, on the Rallycross track, is particularly spectator-friendly. The icing on the cake is Sunday’s spectacular “Fafe” stage: the final 11.19 kilometres of the rally form the Power Stage, which will be broadcast live on TV.

“Fafe” and the fans – the highlight of the Rally Portugal

Hillsides lined with over 80,000 fans, the only shade offered by enormous wind turbines, and one of the World Rally Championship’s most infamous – if not the most infamous – jumps: the “Fafe” special stage produces the iconic images of the Rally Portugal. Few other places attract such a large gathering of drift fans. Few other winding stretches of gravel in the WRC set the pulses of rally drivers and co-drivers racing like this. It is with good reason that the 11.19-kilometre stage also forms the closing Power Stage, on which extra points are up for grabs for the top three driver/co-driver pairings.

It doesn’t get any better – 2015 super hat-trick the motivation for 2016

A one-two-three courtesy of Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila, Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene, coupled with a triple success – Ogier-Latvala-Mikkelsen – on the Power Stage: it is impossible to score more points with three cars. Volkswagen became the first manufacturer in the World Rally Championship to achieve this maximum points haul at the 2015 Rally Portugal. A fond memory, which serves as an extra dose of motivation for 2016.

Quotes ahead of the Rally Portugal

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I feel ready for Portugal. The rally is a very special one for me. It was there that I claimed my first WRC victory – a milestone in my career. I have enjoyed more success there than at any other rally. If I win this year’s Rally Portugal, I can actually draw level with the great Markku Alén, who won this rally five times. That gives me extra motivation, although I will not be thinking of that during the rally. What makes the rally so special are the Portuguese fans, who support us very enthusiastically. And the Fafe jump on the Power Stage is a spectacular highlight, which helps to make the rally a stand-out event.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Rally Portugal will once again take place in the north of the country this year. Soft, loose sand on a permanent layer of clay means you get greater grip with the soft tyre compound. However, if the route has been swept clean, the soft tyres wear faster and the harder compound is the better option. If it stays dry, selecting the right tyre compound at the right time will once again be a key factor – particularly on the Saturday of the rally, when the special stages are longer. Last year was a close battle with my team-mates right down to the finish – with Miikka and I coming out on top. We would obviously like to repeat this success.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Third place in Argentina was very important for us and gives us a boost ahead of the coming rallies. We are still on track in the championship and are now looking forward to Portugal, where I have had good results in recent years. The route is almost identical to last year’s. That does not happen often. We will have to wait and see whether that is an advantage for Anders and me, as all the drivers will benefit from the fact that they already know the route. Despite this, I am very confident, as the Volkswagen Polo R WRC ran really well in Portugal in 2015. It was no coincidence that we claimed a one-two-three there. Whatever happens, we are perfectly prepared ahead of Portugal. My goal is to leave Portugal in second place in the Drivers’ World Championship.”

Number for the rally weekend in Portugal: zero

The recent Rally Argentina not only ended the longest winning run of all time for Volkswagen – with twelve victories in a row – but, the fourth round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) also brought another impressive run to an end. Ahead of the Rally Argentina, Volkswagen had won the Power Stage 15 times in a row – a winning run five times longer than any other manufacturer had ever achieved (Citroën, M-Sport-Ford – both three Power Stage wins in a row). When it comes to race wins and Power Stage victories, Volkswagen must now start from zero again in Portugal.

Video: 2016 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy - Lets GO!

Posted: May 17, 2016 9:35 AM

M-SPORT PREPARE TO POUNCE IN PORTUGAL

Posted: May 17, 2016 9:33 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg and Éric Camilli return to Europe fully prepared next week as the FIA World Rally Championship ventures to one of the most vibrant events of the year – Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

A firm favourite amongst fans and competitors alike, the Portuguese fixture never fails to excite and M-Sport will be hoping for some closely-fought competition to thrill what are some of the sport’s most enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans.

But the going won’t be easy and the team will face some stiff competition from what is one of the strongest entries of the year – through one of the championship’s most demanding routes.

A variation of stages mean that the crews will need to get up to speed quickly and maintain it throughout the course of the weekend.

A shrewd tyre strategy can also make all the difference. Traditionally, the sandy, clay-based stages favour Michelin’s soft compound but as the route gets longer and the stages become more abrasive, they can wear faster which puts the harder compound in prime position.

If that weren’t enough, the Portuguese stages are not without their hazards. Rocks and deep ruts over the second pass mean that the drivers will need to be extra vigilant in pursuit of the fastest time.

One driver who knows how to tackle all that Portugal has to offer is Mads Østberg – who secured victory behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in 2012.

Having made a strong start to the season, the Norwegian is currently holding third place in the drivers’ standings and is one of only two competitors to have secured a top-five finish at every event so far this year.

Keen to be challenging for the top results more regularly, Østberg and co-driver Ola Fløene can never be discounted and will be one to watch if everything goes their way next week.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas are in a positive mood ahead of a string of more familiar events.

Looking to continue his development, the Frenchman aims to complete all of the stages but could well spring a surprise or two now that he is on more familiar territory.

Next week will also see Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry continue their WRC 2 campaign behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 Evo.

The Welsh pairing have had a hugely impressive start to the season and will be looking to continue that in Portugal – with the aim of securing victory amidst some of the strongest competition of the year.

QUOTE, END QUOTE

Mads Østberg said:
“Portugal holds a lot of very special memories for me and we’ve done well there in the past. It’s an event that I enjoy and we’ll be hoping to do well there again this year. There are a real mix of stages and surfaces, so you really have to be at the top of your game. You need to maintain a good rhythm, and the driver, co-driver and car all have to be in sync with one another.

“We’ve had a good start to the season with two podiums from the first four events, but we always want to be fighting for the top results and it’s fair to say that we’re not quite there just yet. Since Argentina, we’ve had a lot of discussions internally and I hope that we’ll soon be in a position to challenge for the top results more regularly – something that we’re all hoping will start in Portugal next week.”

Éric Camilli said:
“I’m really looking forward to returning to Europe and events that I have some knowledge of. It’s not been the easiest of starts to the season, but the experience over the last four events has been really important and the more kilometres we do, the more I understand everything that is required to compete at this level.

“Last year’s Rally de Portugal was my first FIA World Rally Championship event with a four-wheel-drive car so it feels very special to be returning behind the wheel of a world rally car just one year later.

“We’re not focussed on results for the moment, but everything will certainly feel a lot more familiar and I hope that helps us achieve our goals. We want to complete all of the stages, but if we feel comfortable we’ll certainly push on a bit more to see what times are possible.”

Elfyn Evans said:
“Heading back to Europe, there is going to be a lot of competition but I’m really looking forward to it. This is a nice event and there are always loads of fans out on the stages which is great to see.

“The character of the stages is quite mixed with a variation of surfaces. You have to be on the ball to adapt to the conditions and have the right tyre choice at all times.

“As always, our goal will be to the secure the victory and that’s what we’ll be aiming for next week.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s always great to kick-start the European season in Portugal. The fans there have a real passion for their motorsport and they are amongst some of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable in the world.

“We’ll be hoping to deliver some close-fought competition and I believe that both Mads and Éric are capable of springing a surprise or two next week.

“In the WRC 2 series, this is one of the strongest entries that we have seen for some time and it’s great to see so many Fiestas out in force. Despite the increased competition, Elfyn’s goal remains the same and he is more than capable of delivering another victory.”

Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team back in action with Meeke, Lefebvre and Al Qassimi

Posted: May 17, 2016 9:27 AM

Three months after Rally Sweden, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT returns to action in the World Rally Championship. At Rally de Portugal, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson will once again enjoy the magnificent gravel stages in the Porto region.

Part of the World Rally Championship when it began in 1973, Rally de Portugal quickly established itself as one of the legendary rounds, thanks both to the beauty of its stages and the enthusiasm of the fans. Since the rally returned to the Porto region last year, the Fafe stage has become one of the icons of the WRC. On Sunday morning, thousands of fans are expected to gather near to the famous jump to cheer as every crew comes through!

For the Abu Dhabi Total WRT, this rally will be its first gravel round of the season. Up against drivers and teams that have acclimatised to gravel in Mexico and Argentina, the crews will have a tough job on their hands, even though they will enjoy a good starting position for the first two legs.

Although he has been away from competitive action, no one could accuse Kris Meeke of not keeping busy. The Citroën Racing driver took part in recce at the overseas rounds but has above all been busy with the start of development work on the World Rally Car he will be driving in 2017. Following seven days of testing in a significantly more powerful and efficient car, Kris will have to start by finding his bearings again. Fourth here in 2015, he will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for a podium spot, as he was in Monte-Carlo and Sweden.

The WRC break was even longer for Stéphane Lefebvre, who only competed at Monte-Carlo. The young Frenchman has kept himself busy, indulging his passion for driving in a Citroën Visa 1000 Piste, a 125cc gearbox KZ kart and especially a Citroën C4 WRC. Competing in the Rallye des Causses, the opening round of the French Gravel Rally Championship, Stéphane and his co-driver Gabin Moreau took overall victory in style, claiming a clean sweep of stage wins! Fifth in the WRC2 category at the 2015 Rally de Portugal, Stéphane will be able to use his knowledge of the course to target a significant result.

Meanwhile, since Rally Sweden, Khalid Al Qassimi has finished seventh in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. After this rewarding experience, Sheikh Khalid will also need to find his bearings again on the fast Portuguese stages. He’ll be looking to make full use of his knowledge of the event– at which he appeared last year – to do just that.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Kris Meeke (#7): “I’m pleased to be back in a competitive environment. I was starting to miss it! I really like Rally de Portugal. Last year, we all had to get to grips with the new course, with some very enjoyable roads. I was challenging for the lead for a good part of the race, before finishing fourth overall. I also remember the enthusiasm and passion of the fans. The people of Northern Portugal love motorsport and especially rallying. You very quickly understand that this place is part of WRC folklore. The organisers did an incredible job in keeping the passion of the fans in check and the safety conditions were excellent. This year, the first challenge for me will be to get back into the swing of things with the car. The test session planned for Sunday should help me in that respect. As regards the rally itself, obviously I hope to be fighting at the front, but you have to be realistic. We still have a good car, but there are no more upgrades, whereas our rivals are still working hard to improve. I’ll be aiming to have an error-free rally and we’ll see where that puts us in the final standings. I know my starting position should help me. That’s just the way the regulations work, but it shouldn’t really bother anyone given that I’m not fighting for the championship this year.”

Stéphane Lefebvre (#8): “I have good memories of racing in Portugal. In 2014, when the rally was still held in the Algarve, I won the round in the FIA Junior WRC. Last year, I finished in the top five of the WRC2. I like the stages in the North, they are a lot less rough and more enjoyable to drive. Obviously, Rally de Portugal wouldn’t be the same without the friendly and knowledgeable crowds. You get the same kind of enthusiasm and excitement as in Argentina and it’s even more motivating! I have to say it seems like an eternity since Monte-Carlo! Fortunately, Gabin and I have been busier over the last few weeks: we won a round of the French Gravel Rally Championship – our first overall win together – in a Citroën C4 WRC and we also took part in our first day of testing in the 2017 World Rally Car. We’re now focussed on securing the best possible result at this rally. But with such a strong field, it’s difficult to set ourselves a specific target!”

Khalid Al-Qassimi (#14): “It’s good to be back in Portugal and see all these rally-mad fans. I can still remember the huge numbers of people that watched the Fafe stage last year! It was an incredible feeling to drive in this atmosphere. This year, the stages are the same and I hope to enjoy myself. It’s nonetheless seven months since I last competed on gravel in the WRC, as my last race was back at Rally de España. I think it’ll be difficult but we’ll do our very best to find the right feeling. Lastly, I would like to wish Kris and Stéphane all the best for this weekend.”

COMING UP

Thursday, 19 May: shakedown at Paredes from 7.30am to 11.30am, then ceremonial start in Guimarães at 6.10pm.
Parc ferme from 8pm following the opening 3.36km stage.

Friday, 20 May: start from Matosinhos at 7.50am.
Finish in Matosinhos from 8.49pm following eight stages covering a total of 132.04km.

Saturday, 21 May: start from Matosinhos at 8.05am.
Finish in Matosinhos from 8.14pm following six stages covering a total of 165.28km.

Sunday, 22 May: start from Matosinhos at 5.15am.
Overall finish in Matosinhos from 2.10pm following four stages covering a total of 67.32km.

QUENTIN GILBERT, AN EXAMPLE FOR THE FIA JUNIOR WRC COMPETITORS

Posted: May 17, 2016 6:42 AM

Last year’s winner of the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert has a six-race WRC2 programme this season. In Portugal, the Frenchman will therefore be competing in a DS 3 R5 whilst eleven crews begin their attempt to succeed him as champion!

Winner of five races in 2015 – including Rally de Portugal – Quentin Gilbert dominated the FIA Junior WRC. He therefore secured the prize awarded to the champion, a six-rally WRC2 programme in a DS 3 R5. Operation of the car has been entrusted to DG Sport, which grabbed the Teams title thanks to the performances of their driver.

With the support of their partners, Quentin Gilbert and his co-driver Renaud Jamoul took part in the opening event of the season at Rallye Monte-Carlo. Third after an error-free race, they secured an important result, since drivers can only score points at seven events.

In Portugal, Quentin Gilbert will be driving a Citroën Racing, Total and Michelin-backed DS 3 R5. His programme will then continue in Sardinia, Poland, Finland, Germany and Corsica. His car will be fitted with the 2016 Evolution kit, composed of a new front end (radiator, heat exchanger, air box, upper crossmember and lower protection), improved power-assisted steering and an upgraded on-board system. The shock absorbers also come with new settings.

With twenty-six crews competing in Portugal in the WRC2 category, Quentin Gilbert knows that he will be up against stiff opposition. However, nothing has been left to chance in preparing for this rally:
“As it’s almost four months since Monte-Carlo, we have had time to think about this event. What with physical training, reviewing on-board camera footage from 2015 and the various technical meetings with DG Sport, I think we have worked very well. We have just put the 2016-spec car through its paces on a test session in the south of France, and I’ll be doing another test session before the start of recce.”

“That will ensure we start the rally at a strong pace, without any preliminaries. I know that I have a very good car, and I’m really enjoying driving it,” continued the reigning FIA Junior WRC champion. “I think that I’m one of the top six or seven drivers, but I’m not setting myself any definite goals in terms of the final result. Although the roads in northern Portugal are smoother than in the Algarve, we will still have difficult conditions given that we’ll be completing the stages after the WRCs. We’ll therefore have to look after the powertrain and the tyres, and that includes Sunday, which will be a completely separate leg.”

Whilst focussing on his race, Quentin will nonetheless be following the results of the FIA Junior WRC with interest: “There is a good line-up, with some experienced drivers who were already very competitive last year, such as Veiby, Folb and Tempestini. And I also think Koci will be very strong on his return to the category. And then there’s Crugnola, who is a driver with a lot of experience… I’m also pleased to see that there is quite a strong French contingent. It would appear that Stéphane Lefebvre’s title in 2014, followed by my win last year, has made our fellow countrymen want to keep the run going!”

The 2015 Rally de Portugal saw come very difficult road conditions. Heavy rainfall just before the event meant that the loose ground quickly deteriorated as more cars completed the stages. Despite having to rejoin under Rally2 rules after they went off, Ole Christian Veiby and Simone Tempestini had finished in fifth and sixth places. Meanwhile, Terry Folb had finished outside of the points.

Entry List

Posted: May 6, 2016 8:38 AM

Abu Dhabi Total WRT to compete in Portugal and Poland

Posted: April 12, 2016 10:55 AM

After featuring among the frontrunners in the opening two rounds of the World Rally Championship, the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team has confirmed it will be competing at Rally de Portugal (19-22 May) and Rally Poland (1-3 July).

After taking part in the Rallye Monte-Carlo and then Rally Sweden, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT took a break from the WRC during its American leg. Three cars have been entered at Rally de Portugal for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Khalid Al-Qassimi/Chris Patterson.

Last year, when the rally returned to the region of Porto, Kris Meeke finished fourth whilst Stephane Lefebvre claimed a top-five spot in the WRC2 category.

Six weeks after Portugal, the team's WRC programme will continue on the gravel stages of Rally Poland. This time, two cars will be entered for Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Craig Breen/Scott Martin. Winner of the FIA Junior WRC round in 2014, Stephane Lefebvre also competed here last year. Craig Breen has experience of the Polish round of the WRC too, since he competed here in 2013 as part of the European Rally Championship.

Event Website

Posted: December 8, 2015 6:42 AM






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