Friday | 04 Apr 2014

Almodovar: Portugal's giant killer

Almodovar was the longest stage of Friday’s competition at Rally de Portugal.

Run twice, as SS4 and SS7, it also proved most hazardous, causing the retirements of three World Rally Cars. Here’s what happened today, in the words of the drivers involved:

1207hrs. 17km from the start. Elfyn Evans. Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

“It’s a very fast approach and I just missed the braking point by a fraction. I carried a bit too much speed and had a bit of understeer on turn-in which sent us wide and down a steep bank.

"We rolled three or four times. I couldn’t get the car back on the road. We came to this rally hoping to pick up our speed a little bit. Things were working out well at the start, and we were working on braking points and so on.

"But this one caught us out. It’s part of the learning process. We will learn from this.”

1226hrs. 15km from the start. Robert Kubica. Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

“I was very unlucky. We were driving out of a very low speed corner and into a right-hander, in third gear. I thought it was possible to cut so I went in but the corner was blind and at the end there was a bent tree that I couldn’t see.

"We hit the tree with the inside of the wheel. It’s a big shame because two corners before I had marked on my pace notes that there were no cuts, but I saw that people were cutting. So this corner I decided to follow this line.

"Okay, this one was my mistake, very unlucky.” 

1655hrs. 17km from the start. Kris Meeke. Citroen DS3 WRC

“This morning I really struggled on this stage with my pace notes. And I remember this morning Elfyn went off at the same corner and he was standing way up the stage with the [warning] triangle.

"I slowed right down when I saw him and so we really came slowly around this section. Like really slowly. This time I thought okay, I’ll drive it to my notes but they weren’t correct. I didn’t even get a chance to enter the corner - I came off the edge.

"It’s hugely disappointing. For this rally I certainly didn’t want to make a mistake but it’s happened. My mistake.”