In what was a very impressive drive, Sebastian Loeb has went 4 for 4 this year and is a real threat to win every event on the calendar. The Rally of Portugal was AWESOME and did not put on the face of a series in trouble. With former champion Marcus Gronholm returning for a one off, Ford showing great speed on gravel, and the continued dominance of Loeb made for a spectacular Rally. The final day had Sebastian Loeb in the lead after a masterful run on day 2. BP Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen made a valiant effort at chasing the Frenchman down, but in the end it was not enough.
During the final day of the rally however, there was confusion on one of Loeb’s split times. The scoring indicator was displaying he had lost 14 seconds in one sector. Both Hirvonen and Loeb received the news and both had very different reactions. Hirvonen put the pedal down and set a blazing stage time while Loeb protected his lead. Loeb had this to say about the incident on WRC.com:
“I was convinced it was wrong,” he said. “I had done a good drive, I hadn’t made a mistake, and there was nothing wrong, so I ignored it. If Mikko had really been that fast he’d be leading by seven minutes!”
The big story of the day was the trio of Norwegian drivers that littered the top ten for the first time ever. Petter Solber led the charge with a solid fourth place run.
Disappointment for Marcus Gronholm after an accident on day 2 saw the former champion not competing in the final day.
The Rally Portugal was by far the best rally of the year and one of the better rallies seen the past couple of years. Kudos to Sebastian Loeb on his 4 straight win and 51st win of his epic career.