Saturday, April 2, 2011

WRC Portugal 2011

I've never seen Loeb lose his cool as he did after getting caught in the dust behind Hirvonen. It was another indication that Loeb is feeling the pressure this year. On the other hand, if Loeb had not played tactics on day one, he would not have been behind Hirvonen. Loeb was completely responsible for his own road position.

Hirvonen drove very well but mechanical failures put him out of contention for a win or even a podium finish. On day two, the suspension broke and on day three, a drive shaft snapped. Latvala also suffered a drive shaft failure on day two. With both Hirvonen and Latvala driving so well, it was a shame that Ford could not give them reliable equipment.

Petter Solberg's bad luck continues. He had an unbelievable four punctures on day one, which used all his spares for the day. He returned on day two under the SuperRally rules but the 10 minute penalty put him out of contention for a podium. I wonder if there was a problem with Solberg's setup as four punctures in one day seems excessive even for the rough stages of Portugal.

The good news is after three events, there have been three different winners. When was the last time the WRC was this competitive? Even better, the Citroen and Ford are very closely matched and they were trading fastest stage times throughout the rally. When the Ford was working, that is. The Citroen does appear to have a slight edge in reliability when compared to the serious breakages on the Fords.

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