You know how I was not very enthusiastic about RDJ’s twitter?
I guess I am changing my mind about it because so far I really like his tweets since he doesn’t annoy me with posts of random Avengers memes you can find on every fangirl’s blog there (*cough* his facebook *cough*).
Also I totally love the fact that he is randomly favouriting funny tweets from random people and interacting with the others there. (BROTHER BANNER!)
Rally Portugal Round-Up - Rollin’ on the River
Bring on the rain!
Sebastien Ogier seems like the type of guy who, when he wants something his own way, gets it. When he sauntered onto his flight home with his brand new cowboy boots after Rally Mexico, one thing his little heart desired was a nice lot of rain to minimise the road sweeping he would have to do as first on the road in Rally Portugal. Ogier got his way (or alternatively he has inherited the weather controlling powers of our previous Sebastien) and the Algarve was hit by a deluge of biblical proportions.
Crews headed out to recce the stages only to be met by ‘water splashes’ which Moses himself would have struggled to part, a road surface which had been washed away in places, slippery conditions which resulted in one or two cars disappearing into the undergrowth and the recce being abandoned on some stages. Of course our boys and girls of the WRC are tough and can deal with little bit of rain and are in no way diva’s about this sort of thing, we’re hardened to these conditions, aren’t we?
Ever heard of a hood?
Hoods are for the umbrella boys. Can’t have the drivers hair getting messed up.
Eventually the rain stopped, leaving the stages muddy but manageable and the water splashes topped up to maximum.
Things kicked off with the Super Special stage through the streets of Lisbon. It was Volkswagen’s middle child, Jari-Matti Latvala’s birthday and what did Ogier give him as a present? Second place. Couldn’t have him winning a stage, even if it was his special day. At least he appeared to avoid getting another cake to the face.
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain. Well maybe not quite but the rain stopped and this made for some tough (and wrong) tyre choices. Ogier started the day at the top but it didn’t take long for him to slip and slide down the leader board, which of course was the fault of road sweeping and the two spares in the back which the team told him he had to take even though he didn’t want to, ok?
Those further down the start order prospered from their road positions, the likes of Mikko Hirvonen and chatty, smiley Ott Tanak taking 3rd and 2nd respectively on the day’s first 2 stages, whilst Hyundai’s happy Spaniard, Dani Sordo scored the team their first ever stage win, following that up with their second on SS3 and snatching the lead from Ogier (for a whole 1 stage). Sordo was so focused that he failed to notice one of the i20’s back window’s mysteriously disappearing.
Ott & Mikko share jokes and have a long chat about the morning’s stages.
Then it was time for the longest stage of the day, ‘Almodovar’, where it would all be ‘ovar’ for many drivers. Things started rolling with M-Sports little Welsh boyo, Elfyn Evans, who slid off the road and down a hillside with no hope of getting the car back on the road. On the second pass, later that afternoon, Evans was joined by Kris Meeke who popped down the hill to see how the wee Welshman was getting on, coming off the road just a few meters away. A vetran crasher, Meeke managed to out do Evans and bent his roll cage, resulting in no Rally 2 for the unlucky Citroen driver and probably also a bent ear from Mr Matton when he eventually returned to service.
Juho Hanninen managed to pick up a puncture (the first of several) which he was forced to change in the stage, only to get back on the road to find Kubica blocking the stage having taken a cut which he shouldn’t have, being attacked by a tree (it wasn’t the rocks in Portugal that were attacking this year, it was the trees) and spinning. We like to think that Kubica just wanted the other drivers to experience the fun that he has been having hanging out in the stages with the fans and marshals, taking in the scenery and getting to know the locals. Turns out the other drivers weren’t too keen and shoved him out of the way only for the stage to be cancelled.
Seems the other drivers weren’t in the mood for a picnic.
Jari-Matti saved his roll for the next stage. His 4th crash out of 6 starts in Portugal, this one was due to JML forgetting that he was on hards and taking a corner thinking that he would have more grip. He was wrong. It wasn’t any where near as bad as the crash of 2009 (which we’ve heard and seen enough of already) but Latvala’s day ended there.
Jari tries to hide from an angry Jost.
Maybe this is a better hiding place.
JML: …2009 …we were rolling down the hill and the roll cage started to come down…
EE: I only asked what the time was.
In all the carnage, Ogier managed to grab his lead back for the afternoon, holding on to it until the final stage when cheeky Mikko took it off him and kept it overnight.
Ogier woke up missing his beloved top spot so set out to chase it down. By SS9, Santana de Serra, he had it back, storming from 3rd to 1st in just 2 stages. Normal service was resumed. Whilst Ogier was doing his usual thing of climbing to the top, so was Robert Kubica, who was trying to climb to the top of a hill – which he had fallen down - after slipping off the road - again. Maybe M-Sport should consider putting a picnic hamper in the back instead of spares, so he has something to eat while he sits around waiting for the recovery truck, make a day of it at least.
Another nice parking space found by Kubica.
SS10 saw the end of Ott Tanak’s rally. The Estonian, who had been sitting in third, went for a roll in the same place as Latvala had in 2009, ending his podium hopes and stopping the stage. See, picnic hampers would have come in handy here too.
“Maybe if I put my foot over the hole it will stop the air coming out”
Juho calls in Mikko to help stop his hole filled tyres deflating.
The afternoon was not a good one for Hyundai. Juho Hanninen’s tyres continued to explode on him, with his 3rd puncture of the rally and ending his day by breaking a drive shaft in SS13. Thierry was another one who was attacked by a tree in SS11 and broke the suspension, forcing him to nurse his i20 around the stages all afternoon, leaving only Sordo to challenge the rest.
Things didn’t get any better for the Hyundai boys after a good nights sleep. The problems started before they even reached the stages with Sordo suffering a broken drive-shaft on the road section, just 3km from the service park and retiring from 4th. Hanninen suffered one of those tree attacks on SS14 but the damage was only minimal and didn’t end his Rally Portugal run. It did however end his Rally Argentina run before it had even begun, with team boss Michael Nadan taking the decision to give Sordo the seat instead.
Elsewhere, Andy Mikk moved up to 4th when Henning Solberg suffered a mystery problem which he would not elaborate on, maybe it was his rusty legs causing him problems again.
Ogier, despite saying he wouldn’t push on the Power Stage (maybe he wasn’t pushing but I doubt that somehow), took full points and the top step on the podium with Hirvonen coming in 2nd overall and Mads Ostberg quietly sneaking onto the 3rd step after an uneventful weekend (in a good way of course).
Ogier has been finding the competition a bit too easy so will try to beat everyone on this.
Maybe next year they should allow amphibious cars or just bring boats! I’ll leave you with this little guy, spotted by Julian Porter, he has now made his way through the stages and is just above Robert Kubica in the championship standings.
As long as he doesn’t roll, he’ll be fine.
All eyes on the power stage results now boys.
“…they just kept bursting, it was nothing to do with me.”
Ingrassia forgets where the camera is.
This is awesome! My favourite part is Kubica rather bringing picnic baskets instead of spare tyres because it makes SO MUCH SENSE.