Back to earth
From the coastal city of Matosinhos, the Portugal Rally begins on Thursday evening in Coimbra. Competitors will then take on nineteen stages totaling 329.06 kilometers in the north and center of the country before arriving on the famous roads of Fafe on Sunday afternoon.
“We are entering a busy period with a series of cobblestone rallies starting in Portugal. We will just have to try to maximize performance and see what is possible with the slippery conditions that await us on Friday. » explains Elfyn Evans, co-leader of the world rankings.
Friday 12 May
While many of his rivals were failing, a major crash for Elfyn Evans, a puncture for Ott Tänak, and a fire in Pierre-Louis Loubet's car, Kalle Rovanperä won three of the day's eight specials and finished his day 10'7 ahead of Dani Sordo. .
Initially faced with excessive understeer during the first two stages, the Finn made the necessary adjustments to increase speed and gain the upper hand over his Spanish rival.
“It was an amazing day,” Kale captured Rovanpera. “There were a lot of sweeping attacks, but we remained consistent all day. We were fast, but we also knew how to take care of the car and the tires.”
🟤 A very big accident for Elvin Evans during the seventh stage of the Rally of Portugal! 💥
Fortunately, the crew escaped unharmed 🙏
– Off Track (@OffTrack_FR) May 12, 2023
Saturday 13 May
Kalle Rovanperä launched a veritable attack by winning five of the day's seven stages to extend his advantage to nearly a minute heading into the final day.
The Finn continued the attack since the early hours of the morning before continuing his efforts in special stages reminiscent of the difficult and dusty conditions witnessed by the Safari Rally.
Current world champion, Rovanperä is very close to claiming his first win of the year.
Sunday 14 May
After missing out on the top podium since the 2022 Rally of New Zealand, Kalle Rovanpera (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) returns to success and leads the World Championship.
The Finn now has a seventeen-point lead over Ott Tänak (M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1) after the first five rallies of a season that includes thirteen.
With a lead of 10'7 on Friday evening, the reigning world champion was relentless on Saturday with five scratches to his credit to push the contest to 57'5 before turning his effort to win on Sunday by 54'. '7 on Dani Sordo.
“It took a long time, but we are finally back.” Kale Rovanpera said. “I have to say a big thank you to John [Halttunen, son copilote] And to the team. They pushed all the time to get ahead. »
1 #69 Finn K. Rovanpera FIN J Halttunen GR Yaris Rally 1 Hybrid M 3:35:11
2 #6 ESP D. SORDO ESP C. CARRERA i20 N Rally1 HYBRID M +54.7
3 #4 FIN E. LAPPI FIN J. FERM i20 N Rally1 HYBRID M +1:20.3
4 #8 IS W. TÄNAK IS M. JÄRVEOJA Puma Rally1 HYBRID M +2:04.1
5 #11 Bill T. Newville Bell M. Wedigi i20 N Rally1 HYBRID M +8:22.5
6 #20 GBRG Greensmith SWE J Anderson Fabia RS WRC2 (T/D/C) +9:43.4