Rally de Portugal: Shakedown
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing ready for Portuguese kick-off
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is ready to take on the Portuguese round of the FIA World Rally Championship following the pre-event shakedown stage this morning. Kris Meeke was second quickest, with Ott Tänak fourth and Jari-Matti Latvala in seventh as the team made its final preparations before the rally begins.
Shakedown was held on a 4.6-kilometre course in Paredes (just to the east of Porto), consisting mostly of traditional gravel roads but with a twistier, mixed-surface circuit at the end. It provided the teams and drivers with the opportunity to fine-tune their car settings for the dry gravel stages that lie ahead.
The rally begins this evening with a ceremonial start in the city of Coimbra ahead of tomorrow's opening stages in the surrounding area, which hasn't featured in the WRC for 18 years.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We had a positive shakedown. The drivers were all happy and their times were quite promising, especially in the early runs when they are most representative. Of course, they don't count for anything yet but it's a nice way to start. We had a strong test here in Portugal before the event and I think our drivers are all confident with the setups they have. Tomorrow is a bit of an unknown. It looks like there could be a lot of road-cleaning, but hopefully our drivers can make the most of whatever conditions they find.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“Shakedown went well. I felt good in the car and we could confirm that everything is working. I always enjoy being here in Portugal, with nice roads and a great atmosphere. Already on shakedown, the stage was full of people who are passionate about rallying. Tomorrow is new for everyone and it will be a tough challenge for us. The roads there have quite a hard base and there will be a lot of road-cleaning, so we need to push hard to have a good position for Saturday and to fight for the top positions.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“The first two runs we did in shakedown were really nice. I was really happy with the car, which was pretty much as we had made it during the pre-event test. We tried a little experiment with something for the third and fourth runs. That didn't necessarily work the way I wanted and the times were a bit slower, but I think we know exactly what we want for the rally and that means we can just focus on the driving. I really like the stages here and I'm looking forward to getting started.”
Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“Shakedown this morning was good. It's not so representative of the stages here, but the car felt nice and we had a good rhythm, so we want to carry that through into the rally. It's going to be a long and tough rally in the high temperatures we have here this week. Dust could be a problem tomorrow morning, and on Saturday we'll need to look after the tyres in the long stages. But I've always enjoyed competing here and I hope we can have a good feeling once again.”
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3m02.1s
2 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.1s
3 Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +0.4s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.6s
5 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.6s
6 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.9s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.1s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +1.3s
9 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1.7s
10 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1.7s
The first day of the rally takes place mostly around Arganil: an area last visited by the WRC in 2001. Two loops of three stages are tackled with only a tyre-fitting zone inbetween, rather than a service. A super special stage at the Lousada rallycross circuit rounds out the day before the crews arrive back in the Matosinhos service park.
Lousã (SS1 & SS4, 12.35 kilometres)
Miikka Anttila (Co-driver car 10): &ldauo;The first stage of the rally is pretty narrow and technical across the mountains, with many hairpins. Most of it is underneath the trees, so if there is not much wind then there could be a lot of dust hanging in the air, as the stages are currently very dry.”
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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