Friday | 22 May 2015

SS6: Ogier opens account in Portugal

Sébastien Ogier became the fifth different winner in five completed stages at Vodafone Rally de Portugal when he topped the timesheets in Friday’s second pass through the Caminha test.

Stage info: SS6

Caminha 2, 18.05km
Caminha is predominantly in the open with spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean near the finish. Run mainly on mid-sized roads, the surface is bumpy but it’s fast in places with several long straights.

First on the road Ogier benefited from roads cleaned of loose gravel during the initial run, but the morning’s sandy surface was replaced by rocks and ruts and several drivers regretted not raising their car’s ride height.

Ogier was fastest by 2.6sec in his Volkswagen Polo R from team-mate and leader Jari-Matti Latvala, with Ott Tänak a tenth of a second further back in a Ford Fiesta RS.

Ogier, who climbed to sixth ahead of Mads Østberg, jumped out of his car at the stage finish to check the tyre wear while Tänak, like many, was surprised just how demanding the roads were.

“It was really rough compared to the earlier pass. It was hard on the tyres and we have to keep nursing the car,” said the Estonian.

Second for Latvala enabled him to extend his lead to 7.4sec over fourth fastest Kris Meeke, who admitted his DS 3 was bouncing so much on the rough tracks that he struggled to see the road.

Andreas Mikkelsen was fifth to retain third place in his Polo R, 3.5sec behind the Briton. “I was really surprised how rough it was, very rutted and broken,” he said. “The car was a bit too low and I tried to look after it by driving around the rocks.”

Both Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli punctured in their Fiesta RS cars, the Italian losing almost six minutes as he replaced the tyre in the stage.

Elfyn Evans did not leave service after exceeding the time allowance following the throttle problem in his Fiesta RS this morning.

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