Crews vow to push on Sunday’s Power Stage
"Is all I can go for now"
Vodafone Rally de Portugal’s closing Power Stage on Sunday afternoon is set to be an epic as drivers look to maximise the number of world championship points they take away from the gravel event.
The Power Stage, a new concept in the WRC this season, is shown live on television around the world and awards the fastest three drivers bonus points, which could prove crucial to the outcome of the title at the end of the year.
Petter Solberg, who retired on Friday after suffering a spate of punctures, is currently on course for two drivers’ championship points in ninth overall. However, victory on the Power Stage could hand him a further three points.
“The Power Stage is all I can go for now, I will really push on this stage,” said the 2003 world rally champion.
Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala was battling for first place only for driveshaft failure to drop him out of contention on Saturday afternoon. He holds third overnight but could leave Portugal with 18 points if he maintains his position and wins the Power Stage.
“I was fighting for victory and I’m really disappointed that I’m not any more,” said Latvala. “But I can take a podium and I’m still motivated to do that tomorrow and try to take some bonus points on the Power Stage.”
While several drivers will be throwing caution to the wind in an effort to win the Power Stage, co-driver Michael Orr says getting through the 31.04-kilometre Santana da Serra run will be no easy task.
“It’s a massive sting in the tail and really lulls you into a false sense of security,” said Orr. “It starts with a nice flowing flat-out road but suddenly it becomes more narrow and really twisty between the trees. I’m sure by the second pass, which is the Power Stage, it will be well cut up and very rough. With bonus points up for grabs it should make for interesting viewing.”
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