02 April 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier storms to S2000 class victory
at Rally Portugal despite weather chaos

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

Fresh from the last round in Mexico, Volkswagen Motorsport driver Sébastien Ogier stormed to class victory in the latest round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Portugal. Taking the S2000 class first place with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, Ogier scored four championship points over 368km of special stages, despite turbulent weather conditions. In the overall standings, the French duo came eighth. The Frenchmen are staying in Portugal this week, testing the Polo R WRC with rally legend Carlos Sainz.

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

After the ceremonial start on Thursday, Ogier lost time on the night stages due to his Škoda Fabia S2000 developing clutch problems. Torrential rain on Friday brought a blocked stage, while stages 8 to 10 were cancelled due to fog, deep mud and flooding. Overall winner of Rally Portugal was Finn Mikko Hirvonen.

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

‘We lost a lot of time behind Craig Breen, who stopped at the end of a water passage. There were spectators on track to help him and as we didn’t want to jeopardise anyone we patiently waited. Unfortunately, we weren’t credited for this time,’ Ogier commented afterwards. ‘Considering the extreme conditions, I’m happy to have reached the finish. Without the time loss we would have clinched sixth place, which would have marked the best result of an S2000 car in WRC history,’ Ogier continued.

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

‘In view of the chaotic weather conditions and the large field with 19 WRC cars, eighth place is an optimum result. Sébastien and Julien did a perfect job. It was also good to see how calm and professional the team was in performing its work in such difficult conditions,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.

It wasn’t such good news for the Volkswagen junior driver Kevin Abbring and his co-driver Fréderic Miclotte. After an accident in qualifying on Wednesday, the roll cage in Abbring’s Škoda Fabia S2000 was so damaged the pair were unable to continue, by rule of the FIA. Next, Volkswagen Motorsport junior driver Andreas Mikkelsen will run with co-driver Ola Fløene on Rally Argentina from 27-29 April.

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