S-WRC: Ketomaa takes comfortable class victory in Portugal

"This result is really good for the championship"

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By www.wrc.com

30 May 2010 - 18:41
S-WRC: Ketomaa takes comfortable (...)

Jari Ketomaa bagged his second successive victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship in Portugal with a commanding margin over title leader Xevi Pons in a similar Ford Fiesta.

Ketomaa finished 3m32.2s in front of his Spanish rival after a near-faultless drive on the demanding gravel stages. Apart from a few minor mechanical niggles, little troubled the Finn and co-driver Mika Sternberg, especially when several of the expected S-WRC frontrunners hit trouble.

“We had a big lead today so it was important not to take any risks,” said Ketomaa. “We had a small leak with the exhaust [on Sunday morning] but fortunately I did not need to attack so it was not really a problem. This result is really good for the championship.”

Michal Kosciuszko completed the podium finishers in a Skoda Fabia, which he was using in place of the Ford Fiesta he destroyed on the Jordan Rally in April. The Pole, who said he had struggled to find a good set-up for much of the rally, reported a scare on stage 15 when a puncture caused him to drop into a ditch on a right-hand bend.

Ford Fiesta driver Bernardo Sousa took fourth although his main focus throughout the rally was securing maximum points in the Portuguese championship, which ran alongside the main event.

P-G Andersson needed SupeRally to go the distance following a crash on Saturday in his Fabia. He took fifth ahead of Portugal’s wildcard entrant Vitor Pascoal after winning the rally-closing superspecial stage. Although the Swede should have finished higher up the order, he could console himself by learning he had secured a drive in a Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus on Rally Bulgaria in July.

After retiring on Saturday with an electrical fault, Nasser Al-Attiyah restarted on Sunday seventh overall in his Fiesta. The Qatari, who had led for much of Friday before a powersteering problem took hold, underlined his pace by going fastest on all four of Sunday’s gravel stages.

“I was a bit disappointed from yesterday but it was a good morning for us and I really enjoyed it,” said Al-Attiyah. “I got the performance and the feeling back again and the support from the team has been good.”

Janne Tuohino lost time on Sunday’s first stage when he spun his Fiesta and had to reverse to regain the road. He clinched eighth overall.

Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen, who had high hopes of a strong finish in Portugal, was the last of nine finishers in his Fabia, which had been saddled for much of the event by an engine problem and prevented him from finishing Friday’s first day. “The engine is damaged from Friday - there is no compression in the cylinders,” said Brynildsen on Sunday morning. “When it is slower and twisty it is okay but uphill or on a straight there’s no pull from the engine so I have no chance. It is very frustrating but what can I do.”

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