Ogier reigns in Portugal
Loeb has to settle for second, but joins Hirvonen at top of standings
Last Updated: 27/03/11 4:48pm
Ogier: comfortably held on
Sebastien Ogier comfortably held off Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb to claim his first win of the season at the Rally of Portugal.
"The championship battle will be good, it is interesting this year"
Sebastien Loeb Quotes of the week
The Frenchman had led by 37.6 seconds going into the final day and negotiated the gravel stages of the Algarve with few alarms.
He eventually prevailed by 31.8 seconds, making amends for his error in Mexico last time out when a crash on the last stage saw him throw away what seemed a certain victory.
"I'm very happy, we had the perfect weekend, the car was perfect," said Ogier. "This is the best way to come back after our crash in Mexico. It is a long way to go in the championship but I'm in a better position now."
Having benefited from Ogier's error to take the 25 points in Mexico, reigning champion Loeb had to settle for second this time around.
However his place on the podium, coupled with the three bonus points he secured for winning the final Power Stage, means he joins Ford's Mikko Hirvonen at the top of the championship standings.
"The championship battle will be good, it is interesting this year," he said afterwards.
Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala took third place, his hopes of contending for overall victory having been dashed on Saturday when a driveshaft failure and a puncture dropped him more than four minutes behind the leader.
His Fiesta team-mate Hirvonen was fourth ahead of Britain's Matthew Wilson, with Petter Solberg impressively recovering from several punctures on the opening day to claim sixth.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, with Federico Villagra and Munchi's Ford duo Henning Solberg and Dennis Kuipers rounding out the points-scoring positions.