CLICK HERE for Rally de Portugal leaderboard after SS1

Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier was quickest on Thursday evening as Rally de Portugal opened with the short 3.36 km Lousada super special in front of a reported 30,000 strong crowd.

Ogier went head-to-head with Hayden Paddon through the mixed surface stage, completing it in 2 minutes 41.1 seconds, 2.6secs up on Paddon, despite reporting an issue with the boost on the start line.

"There's no message to Hayden [after he beat me to victory in Argentina]!" Ogier said at the finish. "I had a big problem on the start line, I had no boost. I don't know what happened. It's going to be tough. I have no idea what I can achieve. I hope the team can quickly check what the problem is."

Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville, who was quickest in the shakedown, finished up second fastest overall, 0.9secs off Ogier, while Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo was third, followed by the other Volkswagen's of Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala and Abu Dhabi Total WRT man Kris Meeke. Paddon's time left him seventh overall.

"I'm quite confident. I feel good in the car," Neuville said. "I enjoyed the stage, a lot of spectators. We always want to do well. Obviously it's all down to what I can do this weekend."

Behind, DMACK WRT man Ott Tanak led the Ford charge in eighth, 0.1secs up on M-Sport's Mads Ostberg, with Stephane Lefebvre rounding out the top-ten, ahead of Kevin Abbring, WRC2 leader Pontus Tidemand and the rest.

"It's looking tough this weekend, but we like the car and we had a good recce, it'll be good," Tidemand noted. "We'll go out and push. This stage was not perfect, but there was no big mistake. It all starts tomorrow."

Rally de Portugal now begins 'proper' on Friday, with eight stages on the bill, totalling just over 132 kilometres. SS2, the 27.44 km Ponte de Lima 1 test, is due to start at 09.30 hours local time.

CLICK HERE for Rally de Portugal leaderboard after SS1



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