Rossetti wins Rally of Portugal
- 12th May 2008, 9:11am
Peugeot Italy driver Luca Rossetti has maintained his 100% success rate on the IRC by winning the Vodafone Rally de Portugal. This marks Rossetti’s fourth victory on the IRC (following on from Ypres and Sanremo in 2007, as well as Istanbul this year) from four starts and makes him the most successful driver on the history of the IRC series so far.
Rossetti was in the thick of an intense fight for the lead with Peugeot Belgium driver Nicolas Vouilloz throughout most of the rally, ending Saturday with an advantage of just 2.4 seconds. On Sunday morning, Vouilloz chose slightly softer tyres than Rossetti and started to drop behind – but it was a puncture, which he was forced to stop and change, that dropped him definitively out of contention for the win.
This meant that second place went to Belgian star Francois Duval, who climbed his way up the order despite the handicap of starting first on the road on Friday. However, the Belgian’s challenge for the lead was halted by a wheel bearing failure on SS10.
Duval’s retirement meant that Rossetti was able to safeguard his advantage over second-placed Jan Kopecky for the final three stages, who moves up to third place overall in the standings. The 1994 World Rally Champion Didier Auriol held third, but he retired his Abarth Grande Punto on the following stage – SS11 – with suspension failure. In the end it was Vouilloz who claimed third place, to consolidate his second place in the standings.
Fourth place was decided on the final stage, after an enormous battle between Giandomenico Basso’s Abarth and Finn Juho Hanninen in a Mitsubishi. In the end, Basso claimed the advantage and opened his points-scoring account for the season.
There were several high-profile retirements, including Anton Alen – who was out on the first stage with a clutch problem on his Abarth – and Peugeot Belgium’s Freddy Loix, who was out after picking up three punctures yesterday with only two spare wheels.
Marco Cavigioli won the IRC 2WD Cup in a Fiat Grande Punto diesel, with 15th in the IRC rankings, to claim the joint lead of the series and re-inforce Fiat’s lead of the manufacturers’ rankings.
Rossetti, who now enjoys a six-point lead of the championship, commented: “It’s been a fantastic battle from the beginning, and I’m overjoyed to win my fourth IRC rally. Just as was the case in Turkey at the start of the season, I really didn’t expect this. To be competing against such a high-quality field of drivers, with even Marcus Gronholm as the zero car, was a very big honour for me and my co-driver.”
Results after SS13, Rally Portugal
1 Rossetti/Chiarcossi Peugeot 207 S2000 2h57m50.1s
2 Kopecky/Stary Peugeot 207 S2000 +45.8s
3 Vouilloz/Klinger Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m37.8s
4 Basso/Dotta Abarth Grande Punto +2m18.7s
5 Hanninen/Markkula Mitsubishi Lancer Gp.N +2m21.2s
6 Magalhaes/Castro Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m11.6s
7 Stohl/Minor Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m51.3s
8 Campos/Babo Peugeot 207 S2000 +4m32.3s
9 Aigner/Wicha Mitsubishi Lancer Gp.N +8m09.5s
10 Peres/Dias Mitsubishi Lancer Gp.N +10m46.4s
SUBSCRIBE BELOW TO READ THE FULL STORY
By clicking "Subscribe Now" you agree to receive news, offers and updates on RallySport Magazine. If you do not wish to receive marketing communications, you can update your preferences in My Account.
We will commence charging your payment method after the 7 day free trial expires. If you cancel after expiry of your trial, cancellation will take effect from the end of your current monthly subscription period. You will not be refunded any fees paid to RallySport Magazine unless otherwise set out in the terms and conditions.