The biggest surprise came on the second stage, when Sebastien Loeb misheard his pace notes; heading left instead of right. He rolled off the track, and the car was damaged in such a way that his rally was completely over and there would be no chance of any championship points for the Frenchman.
It was Mikko Hirvonen who won the rally, but for the after-event scrutineering. Here there were discrepancies found with the clutch and turbocharger, meaning Hirvonen was stripped of his points. Citroen are set to appeal against the decision, claiming that the parts were in no way intended to give any advantage, but at present zero points were scored by Citroen Total WRT drivers in Portugal.
Jari-Matti Latvala experienced bad luck throughout the entire rally, the epitome of which came when a rock lay in his path and sent him off the road on the second day. Petter Solberg experienced problems of his own, and found himself off the road. Fortunately for the Ford duo, they were able to restart under Rally 2 regulations on the third day, with a hell of a lot of work to do.
Whilst Latvala's bad luck continued for the whole rally (he finished 13th overall), Solberg found himself charging from 13th at the restart, to an eventual third place after Hirvonen's exclusion. This puts Solberg in a good position for the drivers championship and has given Ford some valuable points for the manufacturers championship at the same time.
Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov both experienced some technical issues with their Ford Fiesta's, including misfires, but did well and finished first and second respectively.
If there are any changes with the outcome of the Citroen Total WRT appeal for the Hirvonen disqualification, I will update this page, but for now the championship standings can be found below.
The next rally will be Argentina, on the 27th - 29th April 2012. Check back to Simply Motor for the round up.
Drivers Championship Standings
Manufacturers Championship Standings
|1.||Citroen Total World Rally Team||37||28||43||0||108|
|2.||Ford World Rally Team||15||40||15||26||96|
|3.||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||16||12||10||31||69|
|4.||Qatar World Rally Team||8||8||15||31|
|5.||MINI WRC Team||26||26|
|6.||Citroen Junior World Rally Team||6||12||18|
|7.||Adapta World Rally Team||12||12|
|8.||Brazil World Rally Team||10||10|