Previous Rally de Portugal podiums
|1st||Sebastien Ogier||Kris Meeke||Jari-Matti Latvala|
|2nd||Thierry Neuville||Andreas Mikkelsen||Sebastien Ogier|
|3rd||Jari-Matti Latvala||Sebastien Ogier||Andreas Mikkelsen|
The stages to be used this year are almost identical to last year, when Ogier finished ahead of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo. The competitive stages will cover a total distance of 358.19km, starting with the pairs section at the Lousada rallycross circuit on Thursday night and culminating in the famous Fafe Power Stage, where large crowds assemble to watch the iconic big jump.
Friday will feature eight stages as the drivers begin in Viana do Castelo and later compete over two runs through the streets of Porto. There are a further six stages on Saturday, including two runs through the Amarante stage, which is the longest of the entire event at 37.55km.
The similarity of this year’s stages will mean that drivers and co-drivers won’t need to make too many changes to their pacenotes, but there will not be any complacency from five-time defending world champion Ogier as he bids for a fourth victory in six rounds this year.
The Frenchman had to settle for a fourth-place finish at the WRC Argentina last month as his lead at the top of the top of the drivers’ championship was cut to ten points. Having won in Portugal last year, odds of 5/1 on Ogier to repeat his success look far too good to miss.
Estonia’s Ott Tanak is the slight favourite here following his superb performance in Argentina, while Neuville is the only other driver to have won a round this year. Sordo is another man in form, having strung together three consecutive top-four finishes. The Spaniard came third in Portugal last year and could be worth backing for another podium finish, or perhaps an Each Way flutter in the outright market, but it is again hard to look beyond Ogier considering his current form, fantastic record in Portugal and surprisingly long odds.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
|Rally de Portugal Winner||
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.