WRC Saturday wrap: Ogier on course for first WRC win in Portugal Vodafone Rally de Portugal is set for a thrilling climax after Sebastien Ogier reached the end of day two 21.1 seconds in front of Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb. And with...
WRC Saturday wrap: Ogier on course for first WRC win in Portugal
Vodafone Rally de Portugal is set for a thrilling climax after Sebastien Ogier reached the end of day two 21.1 seconds in front of Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb.
And with just four gravel stages remaining on Sunday, world champion Loeb fears he might not be able to prevent Ogier from landing his maiden victory in the World Rally Championship.
"I have to push tomorrow but the gap is big and he is going very well," said Loeb. "We are only second on the road tomorrow so it won't be easy to make a difference. He was running very well but at the same time saving nicely his tyres. I was too cautious for the tyres and lost too much time."
Ogier, who drives for the Citroen Junior Team, has held his lead throughout the day despite having to carve his way through the loose surface gravel by running first on the road.
He said: "We try to push all day. It was difficult but we didn't lose a lot of time being first on the road. I have to see for my gap to Seb because I know it will be hard again tomorrow."
Petter Solberg returned to end of day service in Faro in third place in his privately-run Citroen C4. He started the afternoon loop 10.5 seconds down on Dani Sordo but moved in front when the tyres on the Spaniard's C4 became badly worn and he had to slow.
Solberg also reported excessive tyre wear - caused the by the hot temperatures and abrasive stage surface - and starts the final day 52.2 seconds adrift of Ogier.
Mikko Hirvonen is fifth and the leading non-Citroen driver in his works Ford Focus with Henning Solberg sixth, in a semi-works machine, after recovering from earlier fuel pump problems.
Mads Ostberg is eighth overall behind Matthew Wilson despite reporting a powersteering problem on his Subaru Impreza.
Ex-Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen remains on course for a points finish in the second Citroen Junior Team C4 after surviving an off approximately one and a half kilometres from the end of the final stage. Raikkonen's navigator Kaj Lindstrom said his driver's lack of experience had been his biggest hindrance on the demanding gravel roads.
Argentine Federico Villagra completes the top ten in his Munchi's Ford Focus, equal on time with Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi.
Sunday's itinerary features four gravel stages plus a second run through the Tarmac-based superspecial stage in Estadio Algarve ahead of the ceremonial finish.