Rally Portugal is just around the bend, and it returns to the legendary stages further north in Portugal. This version of the rally hasn’t been run since 2001, so it’s completely new to all the drivers! This fifth round in the WRC can really turn things around.
Dusty were supposed to write this, but a cannibalistic computer meant he was unable and handed me the task today. That means it won’t be as long or informative as it usually is, but it’s more important we have enough time to make picks. Still, it gives me the opportunity to advertise for our new Fantasy WorldRX game which has been running for three rounds now. There’s another round coming up this weekend (preview will be up Wednesday), and as in Fantasy WRC the four lowest scoring rounds don’t count towards the total score. Joining now means you still have the opportunity to win!
We haven’t seen any summary of what happened in Argentina either, but the roughest conditions in many years saw a lot of drivers retire. The highest score was a low 46, with five persons tied for first place. One of them were Lumpy44, taking the lead from McNewbie who only got 39 points this weekend.
Last year Portugal was filled with points for someone, and others just got one or two drivers finishing the rally. Unpredictable is the keyword here. We don’t have too many wildcard entries here, but at least Kubica is back, as well as Khalid Al Quassimi for his second event this year. Henning Solberg is on the entry list, but he made a “ghost appearance” in EuroRX last weekend as well as in Mexico earlier so he’s not confirmed as an entrant before shakedown.
Of course, Sebastien Ogier has good memories from winning this rally several times. His teammate Jari-Matti Latvala has quite the opposite memories, with a massive roll in 2009 and several other retirements. Citroën driver Mads Østberg won this rally in 2012 after Mikko Hirvonen was disqualified, his only WRC win so far. Kris Meeke retired last year, his only outing in Portugal. Either of the Citroëns can win this though, especially after Meekes display in Argentina, and because of upgrades added to the car for Portugal. Another one to look out for is Andreas Mikkelsen, who is in the new Polo WRC for the first time this weekend.
You can find the entry list here. Since Dusty has gone back to the stoneage the stats spreadsheet isn’t updated. That means I won’t write the last 10 average up here, but you can still take a look at them yourself if you’re in doubt. In case you’re new to this game, check out the rules (AND PRIZES!) here.
VOLKSWAGEN MOTORSPORT - VW POLO R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg Portugal: 20.0
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg Portugal: 4.9
CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT - CITROËN DS3 WRC
Kris Meeke (GBR) - Avg Portugal: 0.0
Mads Østberg (NOR) - Avg Portugal: 8.3
M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM - FORD FIESTA RS WRC
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg Portugal: 0.0
Ott Tänak (EST) - Avg Portugal: 0.0
HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT - HYUNDAI I20WRC
Thierry Neuville (BEL) - Avg Portugal: 3.3
Dani Sordo (ESP) - Avg Portugal: 7.5
SINGLE CAR TEAMS AND INDEPENDENTS:
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) - VW Polo - Avg Portugal: 7.0
Khalid Al Quassimi (ARE) - Citroën DS3 - Avg Portugal: 1.6
Robert Kubica (POL) - Ford Fiesta - Avg Portugal: 0.0
Henning Solberg (NOR) - Ford Fiesta - Avg Portugal: 4.4
Hayden Paddon (NZL) - Hyundai i20 - Avg Portugal: N/A
Martin Prokop (CZE) - Ford Fiesta - Avg Portugal: 8.0
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) - Ford Fiesta - Avg Portugal: N/A