Waking up to a wet villamoura, it was clear it had rained in the early morning of day2, but by the time we got out to the stages, the baking Portuguese sun had dried it all out and Fords Jari-matti Latvala was road sweeping.
We headed out to the mornings first stage (SS8) Almodova, the mid section of it was Jammed packed full of enthusiastic (to put it lightly) fans, Cheering and revving up chain saw motors and running around like crazy (normal for WRC). But the action on the world stage, was eventful before the WRC cars even got to start, as just before a tarmac hairpin, the 00 safety car binned it, much to the excitement of the crowds, and the embarrassment of the drivers. However, in that same place, Fords Flying Fin Mikko Hirvonen, almost did the same thing, coming far to quick it to the sweeping bend before the hairpin. With his Fiesta’s backend in the ditch, and the car on just 3 wheels, with the nose in the air, Mikko kept his foot down and some how avoided a repeat crash of the safety car. Luckly not too much damage to the car or his time.
However on SS9 Mikko got a puncture, he pulled over, changed it and got going again in less than 2 minutes, however, seb Loeb was right behind him as he got going again and Loeb lost a lot of time stuck in Mikkos dust. The Frenchman very angry at the end of the stage, even nudging Hirvonens car up the rear at stage end out of frustration. Petter Was flooring it trying to make up positions after 4 punctures yesterday.
By mid-day service, the other french ace, Ogier was in front of Latvala by 6.9Sec after two 2nd fastest times and fastest on SS10 . We poped in to service for a while. further down in the PWRC, kiwi driver Hayden Paddon had a massive lead of 3 mins after Grondal had problems in the morning.
We headed off to the final stage, while the WRC boys were flat out to catch each other, a real battle for the lead. On SS11 Ogier extended his lead over Latvala. Loeb pushed hard but didn’t seem to make much difference in time. Stobart Ford Driver Henning Solberg relived the nightmare form Mexico with Power steering issues.
As we arrived at the days final stage, the atmosphere was just as good as the first stage, many excited noisy fans, including a trumpet player, keeping us entertained. Meanwhile, on SS12, was the beginning of Fords despair, as Latvala had a broken drive shaft and dropped down to 3rd. On the final stage, we watched the aggressive new Fiesta slide its was of the tarmac and onto the gravel, noticing that, it infact belonged to Hirvonen. As he past, we began to wonder what had happened to Latvala who should have been first. Because of his drive shaft problems, Mikko past him on the stage, but further away in the distance, more disaster for Ford. Hirvonen’s rear suspension broke, which then allowed Team mate Latvala to re-pass him on stage, both managed to make it to the end of day 2 but the damaged had been done. This allowed stobart driver Matt Wilson to move up to 4th. Other Sotbart driver Ostberg retired again due to Power steering.
Hayden Paddon has a massive lead in PWRC. And in the WRC Academy, after Irish driver Alistair Fisher, who lead by a minute, rolled into a tree 1Km from the finish of the penultimate Stage. Meaning the young Estonian, Egon Kaur won the first ever Academy event.
End of day 2 results:
2, Loeb +37.6
3, Latvala +4:14.6
4, Wilson +5:26.8
5, Hirvonen +5:32.5
6, H.Solberg +7:46.4
7, Raikkonen +8:55.2
8, Villagra +9:10.0
9, P.Solberg +11:27.1
10, Kuipers +13:07.9