Latvala Wins in Portugal

Despite heavy pressure from his Volkswagen teammate and world rally champion Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala held on to his early advantage to take his first World Rally Championship win of the season on Rally Portugal. Latvala had taken the lead of the rally at the end of Friday morning, and went on to extend his advantage by the end of the first full day to 11.1s but then came under heavy pressure from Kris Meeke on Saturday morning, with Ogier joining the fray in the afternoon. The Frenchman had suffered while sweeping the roads on Friday and also experienced an early puncture - but remained in contention and fought back when Rally 2 returnees ran ahead of him.

Ogier moved up to second, 9.5s behind Latvala, heading into the final day after winning three consecutive stages but Latvala rallied and went quicker than Ogier to carry a 10.4s lead into the powerstage that proved to be decisive. Ogier bagged the three points available there but was only 2.2s faster than Latvala, as the Volkswagens swept the top three positions both on the stage and on the rally to bounce back from a torrid Rally Argentina in style.

Andreas Mikkelsen secured third due to Kris Meeke suffering a broken anti-roll bar on the penultimate stage. Mikkelsen had moved into third and 0.4s ahead of Meeke on the preceding stage when the issue cost Meeke more than 16s. Ott Tanak gave the new-spec Fiesta a successful debut in fifth.

The sixth placed spot was secured in the final few stages, as Mads Ostberg, who had moved past Haydon Paddon into seventh on Sunday's Fafe opener, moved to within 5s of Dani Sordo going into the power stage. Sordo held on heading the Norwegian by 4.3s overall. Paddon secured eighth ahead of the new-spec Fiestas of Robert Kubica and Martin Prokop.

The WRC2 battle went down to the wire, as 2014 champion Nasser Al-Attiyah fought off a late charge Esapekka Lappi on the new Skoda Fabia R5's debut.

Final positions after SS16:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap

1 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 3h30m35.3s
2 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 8.2s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 28.6s
4 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 48.7s
5 Ott Tanak M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m56.8s
6 Daniel Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 2m27.9s
7 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m32.2s
8 Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 2m54.3s
9 Robert Kubica Ford 4m39.1s
10 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 7m31.2s

24th May, 2015