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Sordo leads after Latvala accident

Dani Sordo has assumed the lead of the Rally Portugal after early front runner Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out of a comfortable advantage on the fourth stage.

The Finn was making good use of his optimal starting position, by virtue of his disappointing start to the season, to eke out a ten second gap over Sordo on stages two and three.

However, while Latvala has taken steps in Portugal to try and reduce his tendency to crash, including revised pace notes, the Ford driver once again finds himself propping up the retirement's list after he rolled out of contention on SS4 through Malhao.

Describing the crash as the biggest of his career, although both he and co-driver Mikko Anttila are reported to be unhurt, a third crash in four rallies will deal another blow to Latvala's increasingly fragile reputation in the Ford team.

His misfortune leaves Sordo in the lead by a slender three seconds, the Spaniard setting consistently competitive times throughout the morning to be the surprise front runner heading into the afternoon's stages.

However, he is coming under pressure from Marcus Gronholm, who is showing no signs of rustiness on his return to WRC competition, by running Sordo close throughout the day and out pacing former team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.

Gronholm could have taken the lead too had he not been caught out at the start of SS4, the former champion admitting he wasn't ready for the stage start having initially been informed it would be cancelled due to Latvala's crash.

Nonetheless, he heads into the afternoon, which will be a re-run of the morning's stages, in a remarkably good position, 3.2secs behind Sordo and the same amount ahead of Hirvonen.

Hirvonen endured a quiet morning, struggling somewhat by running second on the stage behind Sebastien Loeb, although he will be frustrated to have seen the Frenchman top the timesheets on the first run through SS4.



Related Pictures

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