So far, so good for Jari-Matti Latvala and his quest to return to winning (and finishing) ways this week in Portugal. After completing recce it was time for crews to tackle the qualifying stage. This novelty system was introduced to gravel rallies and it will be very interesting to see how it works in Portugal.
Fastest on qualifying stage was Ford’s Latvala ahead of his team mate Petter Solberg in second and Citroën duo of Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb (in that order) in third and fourth respectively.
Based on these results, Latvala will get to pick his starting position first and it should happen quite soon. It is very likely his decision will be based on Ford’s tactics for tomorrow’s night stages, especially if there is a chance of rain.
Brazilian Paulo Nobre in his Motorsport Italia Mini again had bad luck, crashing near the end of the stage and based on his own words he is starting to lose motivation after hurting his car so much.
1. Latvala 3:01.884
2. Solberg 3:03.655
3. Hirvonen 3:04.232
4. Loeb 3:04.249
5. Tanak 3:04.582
6. Novikov 3:05.754
7. Sordo 3:05.789
8. Ketomaa 3:05.921
9. Ostberg 3:05.968
10. Neuville 3:06.142
photo: Julian Porter aka The Guru