More from the WRC drivers about this weekend’s Rally de Portugal
Mads Østberg, Citroen DS3: “I’m ready to fight at the front.”
“It is one of the roughest gravel rallies now that the Acropolis Rally is no longer on the calendar. You have to look after the car and monitor tyre wear.
"The type of roads here also provides difficulties with plenty of blind corners, lots of changes in ground level and very few visual landmarks. You need to take very accurate pace notes. Mentally, I’m ready to fight at the front.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R: “Goal is to pick up more podiums.”
“Portugal is known for its corners, which are often hard to see. On top of that, it is constantly uphill and downhill. That makes it a very attractive rally, but also a very difficult one for the drivers.
"We have taken a step forward since last season. We now have the speed to mix it with the front-runners. However, it is important for me to work on my consistency. The goal for the coming events is to pick up some more podiums.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R: “Rally Portugal has two faces.”
“The Rally Portugal certainly has two faces: when it is dry, the surface is very hard and offers a lot of grip. When it rains, however, the ground becomes very soft and muddy, giving you very little traction.
I normally much prefer it when it is dry. However, we are first onto the route this time, so a little rain on the first day would not be bad for us.”
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai i20: “We need to be focused.”
“Scoring a podium at Rally Mexico naturally gives us some extra confidence heading into Rally de Portugal. However, we know very well that this will be a totally different challenge.
"We need to be focused at all times and help the team by getting to the finish on Sunday without any problems. We want to push a bit, of course, but the priority is to stay on the road so we can give the team as much information as possible.”
Elfyn Evans, Ford Fiesta RS: “This is the first familiar event of the year for me which definitely helps.”
“I think our approach will remain largely unchanged. We’ll certainly be a lot more comfortable on the stages and our familiarity of the event will make things easier, but we need to remember that this year is all about developing our skills at this level.
“Our main goal will be to get consistently closer to the guys at the head of the field. We’ve made good progress so far this year, and Portugal will provide us with the perfect opportunity to work on reducing that gap further.”