WRC Latvala tops Shakedown times in Rally of Portugal
For immediate release
Thursday, May 17th, 2018
LATVALA TOPS SHAKEDOWN TIMES IN PORTUGAL
MATOSINHOS (PORTUGAL): After all the hype and speculation before the start of the 52nd Vodafone Rally of Portugal, it was down to the serious business of arriving at the optimal car set-up for competitors on the 4.60km Shakedown stage at Parades on Thursday morning.
Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Jari-Matti Latvala carried out three passes through the gravel stage in front of hundreds of spectators and topped the times with a last run of 3min 03.5sec in his Toyota Yaris WRC.
Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville gave an early indication that this is going to be a thrilling weekend of high-speed gravel action by tying for the second fastest time with runs of 3min 03.8sec.
Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand was the class of the WRC 2 field with a best run of 3min 14.5sec.
Ogier laid down the gauntlet with a first pass of 3min 08.3sec, but Finland’s Latvala eventually topped the times on the first run with a time of 3min 06.3sec.
Drivers took advantage of a cleaner surface for their second run and Sordo topped the early times with a 3min 04.9sec, which was two-tenths of a second up on Neuville. Kris Meeke then shaved another tenth off the Spaniard’s quickest time.
Neuville hit the front at the start of the third runs and took a full second off Meeke’s quickest time but the Belgian’s time was quickly matched by Ogier. Hayden Paddon was also back with a vengeance after missing three rallies and the Kiwi carded a third run of 3min 04.3sec to slot into fourth place behind a tying Ogier and Neuville and third-placed Mikkelsen.
But Latvala was not to be denied and the Finn stormed to the top of the rankings with a third pass of 3min 03.5sec, before the leading crews returned to Exponor to make changes to the car set-up and the WRC 2 crews took advantage of the Shakedown stage, with Tidemand topping the times from Gus Greensmith and Pedro Heller grinding to a halt with a technical issue.
The WRC crews returned to the stage towards the end of the session but none of the tail-enders could make in-roads into the times set earlier in the morning.
2018 Vodafone Rally of Portugal – Shakedown times (top 8 only):
1. Jari-Matti Latvala(FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 3min 03.5sec
2. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC 3min 03.8sec
2. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 3min 03.8sec
4. Kris Meeke (GBR)/Paul Nagle (IRL) Citroën C3 WRC 3min 04.2sec
4. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Anders Jaeger Synnevaag (NOR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 3min 04.2sec
6. Hayden Paddon (NZL)/Sebastian Marshall (GBR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 3min 04.3sec
7. Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Toyota Yaris WRC 3min 04.5sec
7. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 3min 04.5sec
For further media information:
Miguel Fonseca, National Rally Press Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Lluisa Torras, International Media Relations, email: email@example.com, Mobile: +34 629 924073.