Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

maanantai 28. maaliskuuta 2011

Rally de Portugal: Loeb vs. Ogier

Rally de Portugal could have been a totally different race for the Ford drivers without all the technical difficulties that both Hirvonen and Latvala suffered from during the race! It was exciting to see the Fords back on top at the beginning of the rally challenging the Citroens. But since both Ogier and Loeb had a smooth race and they had very convincing pace throughout the special stages, they took an impressive double victory Ogier finishing first and Loeb 2nd. At the end Ogier beat his team-mate with quite a clear margin so the young Frenchman has seriously challenged his compatriot to fight for the world crown!

Result-wise Rally de Portugal was hardly any surprise. What was surprising instead was the way the 7-time world champion Loeb reacted when he lost time on stage nine running in the dust clouds created by Hirvonen´s Ford Fiesta. Loeb was furious and nudged the bumper of Hirvonen´s car and said Hirvonen had destroyed his race due to those 30 seconds that he had lost in the dust cloud! Of course it´s understandable that the French champion got upset because the incident made him over 30 seconds adrift from Latvala who was leading the rally at that point. But Loeb usually being so calm and always acting in such a correct way surprised everybody with this fit of rage!

So is there "a deeper explanation" behind Loeb´s reaction? Though personally I find  it is totally acceptable for the drivers to show their emotions even though they would sometimes act before they think! Emotions is what makes us human, right? Even the 7-time world champion is entitled to get a fit of rage sometimes! At least Loeb turned out to be sportsman enough to apologize to Hirvonen for his childish act. And at the same time the reaction proves that the unvincible champion is still serious about rallying and winning is all he enjoys!

There has been speculation on Loeb being under pressure and experiencing his talented team-mate a serious threat in the championship. The situation is undoubtedly new to Loeb who isn´t used to a team-mate fighting tightly with him. But Loeb feeling more pressure than before? I doubt it. The man has gone through uncounted thrilling rallies and won 7 championships, I would say he is a man who can handle pressure extremely well no matter where it is coming from! I would guess the anger came more from losing the chance to win the rally. Loeb is such a competitive racing driver that he won´t enjoy any other place but the first!

Can´t wait to see what will happen in Jordan if the rally (hopefully) won´t be called off! One thing is for sure: Ogier will do everything he can to prevent his team-mate from taking the 8th title at the end of the season!

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