Rally de Portugal winner Sébastien Ogier believes his ability to look after tyres was the key to his fourth success on the event.
The Frenchman used Michelin’s soft tyres for most of the rally in the tricky conditions. He saw off Mikko Hirvonen’s challenge on Saturday afternoon when he coaxed the rubber over increasingly dry and more abrasive roads with no wear issues.
Hirvonen’s soft rubber wore badly through the three stage loop and Ogier built a comfortable lead.
“This wasn’t an easy one. Mikko put pressure on me, especially on the first day. It made a big difference, with what is one of my main strengths, that I was able to manage the tyres and then we were able to relax a little bit,” said Ogier.
Hirvonen’s Ford Fiesta RS headed Ogier after the first full day when the Finn’s choice of soft rubber in the afternoon gave an advantage over Ogier’s hard selection. But Ogier felt keeping his soft tyres paid off later.
“We were not so clever with the tyres, but this was not so bad, because we had them to use later in the rally. I was really surprised to see that we use the soft tyre for the whole rally. When it is like this, normally I’m quite good and able to save them to my advantage,” he said.
“On Saturday most of the stages were dry, but still the soft tyre was the best one. I heard the comment from our video guy who was saying that in the stage I wasn’t looking so aggressive, just very clean and that was what I tried to do,” added Ogier.
Ogier was presented with his weight in olive oil at Sunday’s presentation ceremony – a gift from the organisers.