Winning isn’t a new feeling for Yohan Rossel in the World Rally Championship, but the manner in which he claimed victory in WRC2 on Rally Portugal was certainly unexpected.
Last year’s WRC3 champion, who won Croatia Rally last month, was preparing himself for the Fafe powerstage anticipating that he was going to collect some solid points for second place.
Hyundai’s Teemu Suninen was 57.4 seconds up the road after a superlative performance, and due to the live television demands of the powerstage, it was Suninen who was onto the test, followed by Rossel.
But Suninen wouldn’t make it beyond the first few corners, throwing away a hard-earned win as he left the road.
Suddenly Rossel knew, with over a minute in hand over Kajetan Kajetanowicz, that he was in the box seat to win. He just needed to finish the stage cleanly to snare a surprise WRC2 victory.
How did he feel sitting on that start-line?
“Honestly I think of him [Suninen] because it’s a shame,” Rossel told DirtFish.
“He was very fast and compared to me I lost a little bit of time stage by stage. I was thinking I just [need] to finish we will see.
“I was very careful on the first day, the car worked very well on the first pass [of stages] and then after we had a lot of big rocks and the rough, it’s so difficult for me to drive very well. I think we need to work for Sardinia on this domain,” he added.
An eye already for the future, but it’s impossible not to be drawn in by the present given a second consecutive win lifts Rossel to the top of the WRC2 standings.
“Yeah I think it’s good for the championship but honestly it’s so long, there’s a lot of good drivers,” he cautioned.
“I think it’s important for me to prove my speed on gravel and yeah, we will see in Sardinia but I think we need to focus to do a podium.”
Rossel isn’t the type to get carried away by his early form though – no rally driver truly is these days. Two wins on the bounce won’t change his approach for the rest of the season.
“Honestly no,” he affirmed.
“The strategy is just to improve my driving, the car worked very well. We need to work [on it] maybe on gravel as on Tarmac it’s very, very great. Yeah, we will see.”