This year Rally Portugal proved once and again that its dusty and rocky stages are treacherous, which unfortunately some Škoda crews experienced firsthand. Despite this, a total of six crews with Škoda cars finished in the top ten of the WRC2 category with Irish duo Josh McErlean/James Fulton causing a sensation. On their Škoda debut in the WRC2 World Rally Championship, they were just 3.2 seconds away from first place!

A total of eleven times in the 22 special stages did the order at the top of the Rally Portugal change. A total of five crews took turns in the lead, and of those who started with Škoda cars, the Josh McErlean/James Fulton duo came closest to triumph in the end. They fought a thrilling battle for victory in the final leg, losing less than ten seconds to the lead after Saturday's stages.

After the twentieth stage, the gap between the crews fighting for victory was just a paltry 0.1 seconds. However, the penultimate stage increased the Irish duo time deficit to 6.4 seconds, and despite a great performance in the final Power Stage, the debuting duo was unable to catch up. The second fastest time in the WRC2 category only reduced the gap to final 3.2 seconds. The Irish duo also finished second in the WRC2 Challenger category.

„We gave it our all, it's an incredible experience to stand on the podium in the WRC2 category. There's something to celebrate, for sure!“

Josh McErlean/James Fulton in the Fabia RS Rally2 of the Toksport WRT team were fast throughout the rally and would have been fighting for a great position regardless of the bad luck that befell the main candiates for victory. Oliver Solberg and Gus Greensmith make no secret of their championship ambitions, but luck was not on their side in Portugal. From the beginning of the rally, their colleagues from the Škoda Motorsport-supported Toksport WRT team took turns in the lead, until Friday, when Gus Greensmith/Jonas Anderson dropped to third place after a driving error.

On Saturday, however, the situation changed completely. In the second stage of the day, Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson got a taste of the trickiness of the Portuguese tracks. "When we passed the WRC category leader's car lying on its side, I lost concentration for a while," said Oliver Solberg, admitting the cause of the accident, which saw his race special roll further around a corner. But Gus Greensmith didn't stay at the lead for long either. Three stages later, he made a mistake and his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 ended up on an embankment. "We ended up off the track and out of the rally because of a small mistake," said Greensmith.

Had it not been for these unfortunate retirements, the overall score of the Škoda crews in the Portuguese rally could have been even richer. In the end, six crews with Czech cars finished in the top ten. The Irish duo was joined on the podium by the Finnish crew of Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi, while fourth place belonged to the duo of Fabrizio Zaldivar/Marcello der Ohannesian. The Czech pair Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst finished seventh, the ninth place belonged to the pair Roberto Daprà/Luca Guglielmetti and the top ten was rounded off by the local heroes Armindo Araújo/Luis Ramalho.

The next stop of the World Rally Championship is Sardinia, the Italian round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The crews will move to the island full of dusty gravel tracks quite soon, as the Rally Italia Sardegna starts on 30 May.