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2009 Rallye de Portugal : WRC Round 4 of 12 : 2nd April - 5th April

In this issue:
1. Leg 2 Unofficial Leaderboard
2. Leg 2 News
4. Leg 2 Team by Team News
5. Remaining Event Schedule

1. Unofficial Leaderboard
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 2hr 56min 15.6sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 56min 42.4sec
3. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 2hr 57min 12.0sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 2hr 58min 15.2sec
5. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 2hr 59min 38.5sec
6. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 2hr 59min 39.4sec
7. E Novikov/D Moscatt RUS Citroen C4 3hr 01min 15.0sec
8. M Řstberg/O Unnerud NOR Subaru Impreza 3hr 01min 15.8sec
9. C Rautenbach/D Barritt ZIM Citroen C4 3hr 03min 06.2sec
10 F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 3hr 05min 50.7sec

2. Leg News
Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) struggled to cope with road-sweeping duites today and dropped back behind Loeb going into the third and final leg of Rallye de Portugal. Sordi kept up his impressive performance in third but former world champion exited the rally in his Subaru.

4. Team by Team News

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen lie second after today's second and penultimate leg of Rally de Portugal. The Finns endured the worst of the driving conditions on the slippery gravel tracks in the hills above the Algarve holiday resort of Faro, and returned to the town this evening 26.8sec from the lead in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.
#3 : Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "A gap of nearly 27sec is a lot but I won't settle for second. I hope Loeb ! will struggle with the conditions, as I did today, because I'm not counting on him having a problem. It has been a hard day for the tyres. The roads were warm and abrasive, especially this afternoon, and perhaps I braked too aggressively because my front tyres were totally worn at the end of the last stage.
#4 : Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila: Retired leg one (accident)
#19 : Khalid Al Qassimi/Michael Orr: "I stalled the engine in the last stage this morning but I'm pleased with the day. The car performed well and I lifted my pace and style, entering corners in a different, but faster, way. In medium and low-speed corners I need to work out where the grip is and then I could go faster,"

Citroen Total World Rally Team

A score of six fastest times from six saw Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elen! a profit from the second leg of the 2009 Rally de Portugal to put in a faultless run. The five-time World Champions eased ahead after the day's second test and went on to pull out a lead of 26 seconds over their closest chaser. The cushion gives them valuable breathing space in their bid to harvest another win when competition resumes tomorrow morning. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti follow in third place, ready to pounce should an opportunity come their way…
#1 : Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "It's been a perfect day! We
were 18s down this morning and we are now 26s clear this evening. It wasn't easy taking 44s off Mikko in a straight fight but we've got a nice lead now. That said, we can't afford to drop our guard because it's difficult to tell exactly how important the roadsweeping factor is from one stage to the next. You don't really realise while you're on the stage and we had a couple of surprises today when we found out the times of the other cr! ews at the stop control!"
#2 : Daniel Sordo/Marc Marti: "It's been a good day for us, even though it's obviously a shame I made a mistake on SS10. Had it not been for that, I could have been battling with Mikko for second place.
This rally isn't over yet, though. I will carry on pushing tomorrow and I intend to make the most of any opportunity that comes my way. I believe I drove well again. From what I can remember of Portugal in 2007, I definitely feel I have come on a lot on gravel, and I've been posting times on a par with the top drivers. That's given my confidence a big boost, not only for tomorrow but also for the rallies to come…"

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford drivers Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg are perfectly placed to take home a good points haul from the Rally de Portugal as they lie fifth and sixth overall at the end of day two. The team mates are separated by less than a second setting up a thrilling finish to the rally tomorrow.
#5 : Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin: "We found the middle stage quite tough both times, the notes didn't just flow right in the fast sections and we were slightly slower through it than the other two stages in the loop. But it was great to move up a couple of places from yesterday, and we have had some good splits today. The stages are very tricky, more so than yesterday, but tomorrow's are more like day one and flow much better so I'm hoping that will help us. We didn't have any problems today apart from a stall at a hairpin corner when we ran slightly wide and the revs dropped. We lost around ten seconds there and that let Henn! ing get a bit closer to us. It's great to see so many fans out on the stages, there really are some areas which are totally packed."
#6 : Henning Solber/Cato Menkerud: "I knew last night that my position would be an advantage for today and I was right. The car has felt good today and I think maybe I was a bit slower than it was; I was struggling to get the stages to flow and have a nice feeling with the car. But we have improved our overall position from yesterday and everything is feeling better, it's definitely going in the right direction. We have done some good times this afternoon and there's now less than a second between us and Matthew in fifth so that will definitely be a really good battle tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it, for sure we will both be looking for the fifth place but it also means some good points for the Stobart team."

Citroen Junior Team

The Citroën Junior Team ends the second day of the Rally de Portugal with two C4 WRCs in the top 10 positions. This evening, Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt hold seventh position, while Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt in ninth place. Dropping out of the running at the beginning of day, Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia will set out to regain lost ground tomorrow in Super Rally.
#7: Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt: We had decided to attack more today. But I missed a turn which was not in our notes for stage 9 and got a puncture when we went off the road. " Having lost nearly two minutes, the Russian got his rhythm back in the afternoon, clawing through to seventh place: " I didn't take risks. The car is perfect and very responsive despite the rough terrain. I will try to keep the same pace up tomorrow. "
#8 : Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt: " I was pacing
myself today because these roads are very technical and you need to pay close attention to the notes. We
made progress compared to yesterday, even though we got a puncture right before the end of the last
stage, but without losing too much time. I'm pleased with our performance and I hope to keep the pace
up tomorrow, even if the road conditions are expected to be more difficult. "
#11: Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia: " We were in a fast section with a fast
curve to the left with a crest and, forty meters further, a steep turn to the right. We arrived at the top of
the crest just a few centimetres to the right of the ideal trajectory. In the rocky gravel, we could not recover
the car which hit a tree with right rear corner. We tried to continue but without success. "

5. Remaing Event Schedule
Sunday 5 April: Day 3 Faro - Faro
Serv G Algarve Stadium (15 mins) 06.50
SS14 Loulé 1 22.65km 07.50
SS15 S. Brás Alportel 1 16.23km 08.45
Serv H Algarve Sta! dium (30 mins) 10.01
SS16 Loulé 2 22.65km 11.16
SS17 S. Brás Alportel 2 16.23km 12.11
Serv I Algarve Stadium (10 mins) 13.15
SS18 Estádio Algarve 2 2.21km 14.00
Finish Faro 14.10
Total 79.97km
Rally total 361.36km