Emotional start in Estoril, perfect opening at rally pace in Lisbon
Volkswagen has made a successful start to the Rally Portugal. Top time for Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), second and third place for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) – all three Polo R WRCs came out on top over the first 3.27 kilometres of the 339.48 kilometres that make up the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The toughest rally of the season opened with the spectator stage in Lisbon. Having started on asphalt, the remaining 15 special stages will take place on gravel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Not only was it an extremely successful start for Volkswagen, but also an emotional one: the three works duos from Wolfsburg were given a very warm welcome at the ceremonial start in Estoril. One man in Volkswagen colours was given a special cheer: Jari-Matti Latvala, who celebrated his 29th birthday on the Thursday of the rally.
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director “You can’t make a better start to a rally. Whenever one of our Polo R WRCs was underway, it always looked like producing a new fastest time. It feels good, but the actual rally does not really get going until tomorrow and the first gravel stages.”