Connect to share and comment

Rallying: Fever-pitch Ogier wins Rally of Portugal

PlacardEnlarge
(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

France's Sebastien Ogier extended his lead at the top of the world championship with success in the Rally of Portugal on Sunday despite battling a debilitating virus.

The Volkswagen driver, at the head of the standings since Friday's first day, beat Finnish Citroen rival Mikko Hirvonen by 58 seconds with Jari-Matti Latvala, in another Volkswagen, over four minutes back in third.

This was 29-year-old Ogier's third consecutive success of the season after Sweden and Mexico and his third in Portugal after wins with Citroen in 2010 and 2011.

Ogier, who picked up three bonus points in Sunday's power stage, registered his 10th career win in the world rally championship.

He dominated the action in the Algarve, taking six of the 15 special stages while Hirvonen harvested only one.

Ogier's path to victory was eased when two of his main rivals, Norway's Mads Ostberg, in a Ford Fiesta, and Spain's Citroen ace Dani Sordi, failed to finish.

"It's a perfect result but this week has been really complicated for us," said Ogier, who had been battling a virus all week.

"I came here on Monday and wasn't even sure I would be able to do the rally - I was completely kaput."

Ogier then faced a transmission problem during Sunday's closing stages.

"The team has done a good job because this was a very rough rally and we have had many small problems. They managed to fix the car all the time so big congratulations to them," he said.

"Today was more than stressful for me, and at the start of the first one I thought the rally was over because the clutch was slipping. Finally it came back. It was a kind of miracle."

tsc-dj/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130414/rallying-fever-pitch-ogier-wins-rally-portugal