Okay, so this update is bringing you news that’s a week old, but you get that from time to time with a blog that’s an unpaid labour of love rather than a full time gig.
You’ve seen already, too, that Sebastien Ogier won Rally Portugal. It’s Volkswagen’s fourth win from four rallies in 2014. Coupled with a string of four victories to close out last season they have equalled the best ever run of eight consecutive WRC victories alongside CitroÃ«n. That’s a fair effort for Volkswagen and the Polo R WRC, in just their second year of competition.
Ogier had to fight early in the rally to overcome Dani Sordo and Mikko Hirvonen, both men holding the rally lead before Ogier restored the rightful order. For Sordo he became the first Hyundai driver to lead a WRC event. He was unable to maintain his grip for long but was looking secure for a fourth placed finish until a broken driveshaft ended his event, although he impressed team bosses enough to earn himself an extra drive for the next rally.
Mikko Hirvonen proved there’s still life in him and the Ford Fiesta RS WRC by holding for second, ahead of Mads Ostberg who reminded us that CitroÃ«n is still capable of mixing it at the front as well.
Andreas Mikkelsen finished fourth for Volkswagen, managing to get himself ahead of privateer Henning Solberg late in the rally.
For the first time Hyundai ran three cars in a rally and Thierry Neuville and Juho Hanninen came home in seventh and eighth places respectively. They team is showing good pace but is still gaining valuable experience and you sense their challenge will begin in earnest in 2015.
You can’t have a WRC without some spectacular accidents and the honour, or should that be the shame, of the best crash was a fight between young M-Sport driver Elfyn Evans and Volkswagen’s Jarri-Matti Latvala. Both crews were unhurt and Latvala even managed to earn himself a couple of points in the power stage on the final day.
Oh, yes, of course, Robert Kubica crashed out again. In 11 days of racing this year he has crashed out in 10.
Volkswagen and Ogier are again establishing themselves at the top of their respective championship tables and both will be hoping they can set a new mark of nine rally wins on end when they tackle Rally Argentina next month.
Until then check out our 2014 Rally Portugal photo gallery and official team videos after the break.