The last and sunny day of Rally Portugal saw the continuation of the intense fight for second in WRC 2 right from the re-start. The smooth and fast gravel roads close to the village of Fafe in the northeast of Porto as always attracted thousands of enthusiastic rally fans.
The famous Fafe jump made up the background not only for the fierce battle for second place between ŠKODA factory driver Pontus Tidemand and Teemu Suninen in a private Ford. Fourth placed ŠKODA privateer Quentin Gilbert spectacularly crashed right after the jump. His ŠKODA FABIA R5 landed on its nose, rolled and-over-end and blocked the narrow road causing the interruption of the stage. Due to the safety package of the car, Gilbert and co-driver Renaud Jamoul went away without any injuries.
At the top of the WRC 2 category, Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Anders Jæger started the last day with a comfortable lead of more than three minutes and were facing a dominant victory in WRC 2. But on the last test, the Fafe Power Stage, Mikkelsen made a mistake, the ŠKODA hitting a stone and having to stop.
On the first three stages of the morning, Pontus Tidemand with a controlled and fast drive managed to maintain the gap between him and Ford driver Teemu Suninen, who was no longer able to challenge for second in WRC 2. After he saw his teammate Mikkelsen stopped in the last stage, Tidemand realised that was in the lead. But he also had to fight in the stage to secure his win. Tidemand hit a rock too, thought he had a puncture and slowed down. Therefore, he lost nearly 15 seconds in the ultimate stage to Suninen. But Tidemand / Andersson kept a margin of eleven seconds over the Ford team finally securing victory.
The victory in Portugal was the ninth success in a row for the Czech manufacturer. Out of the last 17 WRC 2 events, ŠKODA won 16.
Number of the day: 16
Out of the last 17 World Championship Rallies ŠKODA won 16 times category WRC 2. Since Rally of Spain last year, the factory team is unbeaten and scored nine wins in a row.
|2018 Rally de Portugal – WRC2 Final Results:|
|1.||Tidemand / Andersson (SWE/SWE)||FABIA R5||4:03:57.4 hrs|
|2.||Pieniążek / Mazur (POL/POL)||FABIA R5||+ 2:06.5 min|
|3.||Lefebvre / Moreau (FRA/FRA)||Citroën C3 R5||+ 2:23.5 min|