Day 3: Mission accomplished with second and third
Theres nothing quite like the famous Fafe jump to bring Rally Portugal to a thrilling finale – and it certainly delivered on its promise!
After 19 competitive stages, we landed our best-ever Portugal result with Thierry and Nicolas finishing second, just 15.6s behind rally winner Sébastien Ogier.
Dani and Marc made it a double podium celebration by securing third place. What a way to achieve our first-ever Portuguese podium result!
We achieved our objectives, summarised our Team Principal Michel. When Ogier has a 16-second lead on the final day, you know its going to be tough. But our crews did a good job, while also putting on an exciting show in front of thousands of spectators.
Flying through Fafe
The stages were lined with cheering crowds throughout the day but especially watching in awe as the cars launched over the iconic Fafe jump.
Thierry and Nicolas were one of the quickest crews through the Power Stage, adding four valuable points to their season total. Their performance continued an unbroken run of Power Stage points.
We struggled with the rear of the car a bit this weekend, admitted Thierry, but I am pleased with second place. We just couldnt match M-Sport and Ogier this time. We have taken another good haul of points, which is very important for both Drivers and Manufacturers Championships.
Our Spaniards Dani and Marc received plenty of support in Portugal and rewarded their fans with a second podium finish of the season.
Im delighted with this podium, said Dani. I was a bit disappointed on Saturday not to be closer to the front, so I just focused on Sunday morning to secure third place. It was a fun and enjoyable weekend; the support of the spectators was incredible.
Hayden and Seb were determined to show their true pace after a weekend beset by problems. Two stage wins on Sunday morning sent a strong message. For the first time this season, all three of our crews registered stage wins over the weekend. Our #4 crews successes on Sunday brought the teams Portugal total to an impressive nine.
The team has never given up all weekend, said Hayden. They seem to dig deeper with each rally. The fact we won two stages on Sunday morning reinforced what might have been without our troubles. The Power Stage was fun and Seb did an amazing job. There are encouraging signs for the future.
Every second counts
The Portugal podiums mean we strengthen our second place in the Manufacturers Championship with 173 points, 26 behind M-Sport.
Thierry has moved up to second in the Drivers Championship closing the gap to Ogier. Our Belgian has 106 points compared to the Frenchmans 128 after six rounds of 13.
As we approach the halfway point of the season, we will head to Sardinia for round seven in high spirits. Sardinia will offer another challenge, added Michel. We have happy memories from last seasons win, which we will definitely want to repeat.
Rally Italia Sardegna takes place 8-11 June.
Final Overall Classification – Rally de Portugal
1 S. Ogier J. / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:42:55.7
2 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +15.6
3 D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:01.7
4 O. Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:30.2
5 C. Breen / S. Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:57.4
6 E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:10.6
7 J. Hänninen / K. Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:48.9
8 M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +5:29.7
9 J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +5:43.6
10 E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +8:13.3
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers Standings
After round 6
1 S. Ogier 128
2 T. Neuville 106
3 J.M Latvala 88
4 O. Tanak 83
5 D. Sordo 66
6 E. Evans 53
7 C. Breen 43
8 H. Paddon 33
9 K. Meeke 27
10 J. Hänninen 21
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers Standings
After round 6
1 M-Sport World Rally Team 199
2 Hyundai Motorsport 173
3 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 113
4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 8
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.