While the prime (soft) were preferred on the first passes, the choice in the afternoon was to go out with a prevailing number of option tyres
The world champion Rovanpera, who administered the race with caution, came out on top
Testoni: ‘Our choice to go for the versatility of the softs proved to be correct and appreciated by the teams’
Porto 14 May 2023 – The Rally Portugal confirms to be one of the toughest races of the Championship for some stages such as those of Lousā and Gois on Friday, which in the second pass were enormously bumpy and strewn with numerous stones. An exhausting situation, however expected, which required very careful handling of the tyres and cars by the drivers, as they themselves often remarked. In such circumstances, the Scorpion Hard tyres, which were the option in Portugal and were the prevailing choice on both Friday and Saturday afternoons, did not fail to live up to expectations, even on terrain made even harsher by the drought of recent weeks. The hard tyres, often used in combination with the softs, ensured the necessary robustness and reliability in a race where nothing could be taken for granted. It is worth mentioning that in the second passages on Friday the times were sometimes faster than in the first.
In the more slippery morning pstages and, of course, in Sunday’s power stage, the scene was dominated, predictably, by the softs. This full use of the full range of tyres available confirmed the correctness of the initial choice of all the teams who opted for an allocation of 24 Scorpion Soft (prime) and 12 Scorpion Hard (option).
TERENZIO TESTONI, PIRELLI RALLY ACTIVITY MANAGER:
“As expected, Friday was a tough day for everyone, especially in the first two stages in the afternoon. The same thing happened last year, but with a difference: in the 2022 edition it was the deep ruts in the terrain that caused problems, while this year it was the huge number of stones that caused damage to the tyres and rims. Having passed these two stages, we can say that the race then went downhill, at least for us, with only a couple of punctures overall, which are part of the game and completely normal in conditions of that kind. In thirty years, I still haven’t seen a rally without punctures, to be honest. In the end, our decision for the soft as prime proved to be appropriate and was approved by the teams. We will now head to Sardinia, which promises to be a very interesting race, not only because of the 20th anniversary of the rally, but also because we will have a special stage of 50 kilometres in which tyre strategy will be more crucial than usual”.
In RC2, whose teams largely replicated the strategies of the top category, Gus Greensmith prevailed, ahead of Olivier Solberg, who was penalised by one minute. Victory went to Finland’s Hoopi Korhonen in RC3.
Below is a graphic summary of the Rally Portugal.