The first full day of competition is in the books in Portugal and the story lines one could drawl from is massive. Mikko Hirvonen in the BP Ford Focus has found his way to the front after a mistake from Citroen number two Danni Sordo, and the biggest story thus far is the drama unfolding in the BP Ford service area. In stage 4 Jari-Mati Latvala had went off in a major way and caused a large amount of damage to the number two Focus and is again out of contention. If you remember back to the preview yesterday, we stated that Latvala had the most to lose of all the drivers. Well, he has lost it and now Malcolm Wilson is ot for blood. Wilson, the team principle for BP Ford had this to say to WRC.com earlier:
"At the moment it’s difficult to comment, but we have to review the situation,” he said. “It’s been a disastrous start to the season, the worst we’ve had for a number of years. We made some driver changes last year when we brought in Francois Duval for some rallies and I think we now need to look at everything again."
I for one however don’t believe Duval will be back in the car. Instead enter story number two for the weekend and that has got to be the awesome pace that Marcus Gronholm is displaying after 16 months out of the car. I for one am a firm beliver there may be a chance that Malcolm is going to try and snatch Gronholm out of retirement and Prodrive. Call it a long shot, but the statement made by Malcolm Wilson just so happens to come on the weekend that we find Marcus has still got it. Since Marcus would pretty much be out of the title hunt he could play a dream number two to Hirvonen and may help Ford gain ground on the Citroen drivers. Nothing official has been announced on any talk and there is no way of us knowing at this time if Malcolm is even thinking this, but one must think he would love to get his hands on the former champion.
Sebastian Loeb is running in third at the moment and seems to be running his own pace into day two.
Here are the results after Day 1 with the top 4 runners all within half a minute of each other:
Khalid AL QASSIMI