WRC

Portugal - Leg One Story

McRAE & THE 555 SUBARU TAKE THE LEAD Rally of Portugal - Leg One - 23 March, 21:46 +0100 Ten stages into the 1998 Rally of Portugal and the 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist have taken overall ...

McRAE & THE 555 SUBARU TAKE THE LEAD Rally of Portugal - Leg One - 23 March, 21:46 +0100 Ten stages into the 1998 Rally of Portugal and the 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist have taken overall control of the leaderboard with a commanding 44 second advantage over second-placed Juha Kankkunen. Team-mates Piero Liatti and Fabrizia Pons are lying in a creditable 7th position at the end of Leg One. The event opened with the popular Super Special Stage yesterday where nearly 30,000 spectators flocked to the rallycross circuit in Lousada to see the stars in action. Today’s first full Leg of the rally has seen many of the crews suffer with mechanical problems, but the 555 Subaru World Rally Team have had a trouble-free run with McRae dominating from the outset. The Scot got into his stride early, determined to set an unbeatable pace and made maximum use of the Pirelli tyres to streak ahead of the opposition. Fastest times on five consecutive stages put Colin in a league of his own on the dry, rutted and dusty stages east of Porto. "I’m feeling really confident in myself and the Subaru is working well and that obviously shows in our times," said Colin. "We started off with the intention of taking an early lead because on these short stages you can’t afford to take time getting into a rhythm. The stages today have been pretty soft and sandy but our Pirellis have worked well in these conditions. Winning is our only option here - we need those ten points and have a healthy overnight lead. Let’s hope it stays this way!" Italian team-mate Piero Liatti is competing in Portugal for the first time in his career and set an impressive pace this morning, climbing to fifth position by the end of stage seven. Experimenting with suspension settings on the following stages, Piero dropped a few seconds as he tried to find the optimum set-up for the Subaru Impreza 555 and finished the Leg seventh overnight. "For my first time in Portugal I am pleased with the way today has gone, but I am still looking for the perfect set-up so we have spent some of today trying different settings," commented the Italian. "We have spent most of the day holding off Richard (Burns) and I feel confident that we can put in a good performance tomorrow to move higher up the leaderboard." Leg two of the Rally of Portugal starts on Tuesday, 24 March in Viseu where the teams will have spent the night before travelling further south for tomorrow’s 145 competitive kilometres over the fast and rockier stages in the Arganil region.

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Series WRC
Drivers Colin McRae , Juha Kankkunen , Nicky Grist , Piero Liatti