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Thanks to Mikko Hirvonen, Citroën won another podium at Rally de Portugal. Finn came back to second place on Sunday, only pipped by Sebastien Ogier after a tough start.

Citroën, strong finish in Portugal

WRCportu2The facts
For the first gravel event this season, held in Algarve area, in the southern Portugal, Hirvonen – the Nordic – came close to a resounding achievement at the wheel of his Citroen DS3 WRC making the most of opponents mechanical issues. He finished runner-up less than a minute adrift of Ogier, despite his start was marred by set-up problems.

The figure
4.4 secs, the gap between leader and Dani Sordo at the end of the first stage on Friday night. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, who was delivering his best performance in 2013, he hit a tree on Saturday morning losing his hopes to get a decent finish.

The sentence
“I even wondered if there was something wrong with the timing system” – Mikko Hirvonen. Making up time on Sunday to outclass his country-mate Jari-Matti Latvala to take second place, Hirvonen found hard to believe how fast he really was. Momentum though ended in the 52 km long Power Stage Almodovar.

The anecdote
Two years after he was seriously injured in a rally crash in Italy, former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica took part this weekend both to his first WRC rally and gravel event. Kubica was entered in WRC2 driving a Citroën DS3 RR2. Pole, who quickly lost his hopes of victory, finished on sixth.

To be continued
Argentina (1-4 May)