SS1: Solberg quickest on the streets of Lisbon
Ford driver begins Vodafone Rally de Portugal with stage victory
Petter Solberg leads Vodafone Rally de Portugal, round four of the FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia, following his fastest time on the opening SSS Lisboa in the country’s capital city.
Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Solberg was 0.1s faster than Citroen pilot Sebastien Loeb on the 3.27-kilometre all-asphalt stage, despite nudging a tyre barrier. Finns Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen shared the third fastest time. M-Sport’s Ott Tanak was fifth with Dani Sordo sixth for the new Prodrive WRC Team.
Portuguese Armindo Araujo thrilled the throngs of local fans by securing a top 10 fastest stage time in his WRC Team MINI Portugal John Cooper Works WRC.
“It was fantastic, maybe we tried too much but I am happy with my feeling and my confidence,” said Araujo. “I am confident for the rally. So many people are pushing, it’s like having two co-drivers.”
Russia’s Evgeny Novikov reported a small engine misfire in his M-Sport Fiesta. Swede Patrik Sandell said he tried to avoid wearing out his tyres for the upcoming gravel stages in his Prodrive WRC Team MINI, while Daniel Oliveira completed his first stage of a world championship event in his new Fiesta RS WRC.
Craig Breen, in a Fiesta S2000, was the quickest of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship runners while Brendan Reeves was the fastest of the FIA WRC Academy intake in his Fiesta R2.
Crews are now heading 200 kilometres south to Ourique for a regroup. Stage two, the all-gravel 10.19-kilometre Gomes Aires run, gets underway at 20:19hrs local time.
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