Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier set the pace in the Lisboa super special this evening to take the early lead on Rally de Portugal, round four in the 2014 World Rally Championship.

Ogier complete the short 3.27 km tarmac test in 2 minutes 52.7 seconds, 1.3 seconds up on team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, who was today celebrating his 29th birthday.

"It's a good start but the real stuff starts tomorrow," Ogier told the official WRC site. "We're here to win the rally but it won't be easy."

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Andreas Mikkelsen meanwhile came in third in the other Polo R WRC, 0.9 seconds further back, and thereby giving VW a 1-2-3: "You can't make a better start to a rally," Volkswagen boss, Jost Capito remarked. "Whenever one of our Polo R WRCs was underway, it always looked like producing a new fastest time. It feels good, but the actual rally does not really get going until tomorrow and the first gravel stages."

Behind, Thierry Neuviille took fourth and was 'best of the rest' for Hyundai, with Britain's Kris Meeke fifth for Citroen and M-Sport WRT man, Mikko Hirvonen sixth.

Ott Tanak was next up with Robert Kubica and Mads Ostberg tied for eighth. Juho Hanninen rounded out the top ten.

Rally de Portugal now starts 'proper' on Friday, with three stages on the bill - all to be run twice and split by a mid-day service. The route includes over 130 competitive kilometres, with SS2, the 21.50 km Silves 1 test, due to start at 10.06 hours local time.

Rally de Portugal: Overall standings after Stage 1 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 52.7s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 01.3s M
3. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 02.2s M
4. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 02.9s M
5. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 03.6s M
6. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 04.3s M
7. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 04.5s
8. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 04.8s M
= Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 04.8s M
10. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 05.3s M

Others

11. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 05.8s M
12. Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 06.8s M
= Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 06.8s
14. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +00m 07.0s M
15. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 07.3s M
16. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 08.9s WRC2
= Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 08.9s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):

1. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta R5 +03m 01.6s WRC2
= Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 00.0s WRC2
3. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 00.3s WRC2

JWRC / WRC3 standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):

1. Simone Campedelli Citroen DS3 R3T 3m 09.5s WRC3
2. Martin Koci Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 03.8s WRC3
3. Jan Cerny Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 04.2s WRC3

Notable retirements:

None.

all times unofficial