Dani Sordo returns to the World Cup through the front door. Absent since the Monza Rally last November, the Spanish returns to the ‘ring’ in Portugal, test in which he has achieved five podiums and in which last year he was fighting for victory until the last meter. And he is a clear favorite due to his record in the appointment and his favorable starting position, which also benefits the two ‘Sebastians’, Loeb and Ogier, in their new confrontation after their vibrant duel in Monte Carlo.
The Rally of Portugal starts on Thursday from Coimbra, where that same day a superspecial will be held, to give way to the mythical gravel sections of the Arganil area on Friday, and to focus on the north on Saturday and Sunday. Again the closing will be in the no less mythical section of Fafe and his famous jump, a special that year after year brings together hundreds of thousands of viewers, many of them Spanish.
A scenario that has seen Sordo shine in the past and to which this year he arrives again motivated: “Portugal is always very beautiful, so I’m very happy that this is my first rally of the season, as I have achieved podiums here in the past. Normally there are many spectators who travel from Spain and the fans have always been fantastic. I’m excited to drive the car on dirt for the first time. I hope to have a good rhythm and quickly adapt to this new challenge. It won’t be easy, as the other drivers have already done three rallies, so I hope that the sensations with the car arrive quickly”, explained the Spaniard, who will drive the new Hyundai hybrid for the first time in competition.
He will start last among the official cars, which will favor him, since you will find the paths clean of gravel, but that is an advantage that the ‘Sebastians’ will also have, others who come out behind. Ogier is hungry for revenge after being beaten by Loeb in Monte Carlo, so the Portuguese event will be a full blown revenge for them. Also starting in rear positions is the winner of last year, Elfyn Evans, or the winner in 2019, Ott Tanak, two names to add to the favorites list. The most affected by opening the track will be the two leading men in the World Cup, Kalle Rovanpera and Thierry Neuville.
The Portuguese appointment also marks the return of two other illustrious Spaniards, Jan Solans and Pepe Lopez. The former world champion and the former champion of Spain compete in the 2022 World Cup for the first time this weekend, both with the aim of showing their speed to carve out a future outside our borders.
1. Kalle Rovanpera, 76 points
2. Thierry Neuville, 47
3. Craig Breen, 30
4. Sebastian Loeb, 27
5. Ott Tanak, 27