Sunday | 24 May 2015

Champion Al-Attiyah wins WRC 2 in Portugal

Reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah won the WRC 2 support category at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on Sunday to move second in the points table with two wins from two rallies.

Al-Attiyah, driving a Ford Fiesta RRC, headed Esapekka Lappi by 12.0sec, the Finn securing a podium finish for Skoda’s Fabia R5 on its WRC debut.

Team-mate Pontus Tidemand ensured further delight for the Czech manufacturer by driving another Fabia R5 into third, 25.8sec behind his colleague.

“This was a new rally for everybody and there was no experience advantage for any driver,” said Al-Attiyah. “We were really strong and showed that we’re fast and I’m so happy to win again.”

Frenchman Julien Maurin was fourth in another Fiesta RRC, almost three minutes off the lead. He moved ahead of Stéphane Lefebvre, who struggled with worn tyres this morning, and finished 17.3sec clear of his fellow countryman.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, winner of the previous round in Argentina, completed the top six.

The tough gravel roads of northern Portugal proved too much for many competitors and the event became one of attrition.

Frontrunners Karl Kruuda and Yazeed Al Rajhi both retired yesterday. Retirees today included championship leader Jari Ketomaa, who crashed heavily after a jump (below), Anders Grondal, Eric Camilli and Australian champion Scott Pedder.

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