WRC 2016: Rally Portugal Preview - Part 2
As the 2016 World Rally Championship heads to Portugal for its fifth round, we give you a break up of exactly what to expect from each of the teams in the championship.
Three cars this time for Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team for Kris Meeke (in chassis 17), Stephane Lefebvre (8) and Sheikh Khalid (6), an incredible line up of cars which between them have won 15 WRC events but only Khalid's car has won before in Portugal.
Missing this time will be Breen. Pre Portugal testing was being carried out the weekend before the rally close to Porto. No decisions yet about future WRC programmes for the drivers and no specific news about the presentation of the 2017 car, expected to be September or October.
Four cars for this event, for the first time this year that Kevin Abbring has been released from his R5 and 2017 WRC testing work to be able to enter a WRC event personally. The Manufacturer Shell team entries will be for Hayden Paddon in a new NG car (5) and Dani Sordo (1) while the WRC Mobis team entries are a mixture of a NG car for Thierry Neuville (3) and a 2015 car for Kevin Abbring (15).
Hayden Paddon put Hyundai on the top step of the podium at Argentina, a feat that might not be easy to repeat at Portugal
Problems about throttle sticking and electronic troubles in Argentina said to have been sorted. Pre-Portugal testing was carried out in the north of Portugal last week, in addition to earlier pre-Argentina testing in Portugal for Sordo and Neuville.
Usual cars for Mads Ostberg (50), Eric Camilli (53) and the DMack team car of Ott Tanak (46). Analysis of Tanak's car after Argentina showed his alternator problem was caused by a very heavy impact with a culvert which smashed the alternator and damaged the suspension. No recent progress with engine development work but work on remedying the downshift problems is underway. News from MSport WRC customer Bertelli (again in chassis 47) was that his turbo failure in Argentina caused damaged to the interior of the engine. Veterans together?
M-Sport are also running Henning Solberg on his 122th WRC event at the wheel of the famous old chassis 29 (which was raised from the lake in Argentina last year) which is embarking on its 36th WRC event. No pre-Portugal testing by the team as this was covered in pre-Argentina testing, but plans are for pre-Rajd Polski tests instead. R5 news: Elfyn Evans has yet another brand new car for this event. Marius Aasen has a prize drive after his JWRC success last year. Holiday time is planned for Evans: competing in the forthcoming Barbados Rally.
Sebastien Ogier (29) and Jari-Matti Latvala (30) have their ex-Mexico cars, Andreas Mikkelsen has his old uprated 2015 car (31) only used this year previously in Sweden. One day for each driver in testing in North Portugal the week before the rally. Happy memories of Portugal for VW last year when they finished 1-2-3. No further comments come from the team following the belief that Latvala's suspension failure when leading in Argentina (the front strut burst through the bodywork) caused his accident or concerning Mikkelsen's broken gearbox.
It was a fine victory for Jari-Matti Latvala at Rally Portugal last year
There have been curious but unsubstantiated reports that the Qatar driver Nasser Al-Attiyah has asked to drive a Polo WRC on events in the second half of the season, notwithstanding VW's frequently confirmed policy that Polo WRCs will only be rallied by the official team drivers.
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