Top 15 classification after SS9 at WRC Rally de Portugal

Thierry Neuville has stormed into a commanding position at Rally de Portugal after seeing his main World Rally Championship title rivals fall out of contention.

After Ott Tanak was forced out on SS2 with a mechanical issue with his Toyota, WRC points leader Sebastien Ogier crashed out on SS5 in a heavy day of attrition which saw a total of five premier class challengers all forced out.

With Neuville taking four consecutive stage wins the Hyundai driver has moved into a 17.7 second lead over Elfyn Evans for M-Sport Ford with Dani Sordo fading to third place after suffering with his soft Michelin tyres.

Teemu Suninen ended the day fourth overall for M-Sport Ford after losing third place to Sordo after SS9 but has a healthy 15-second advantage over lead Citroen driver Mads Ostberg in fifth place.

Sole Toyota challenger Esapekka Lappi is sixth, with Tanak and teammate Jari-Matti Latvala both out as the Finn suffer suspension failure on SS3 to mark a nightmare start to the Portugal event for Toyota, with Kris Meeke provisionally in eighth place despite finishing the final three stages on three wheels.

The Citroen driver suffered a puncture of SS6 only to be hit with double frustration when his spare tyre delaminated meaning he took on the Porto city street stages on three wheels.

Citroen’s Craig Breen rounded out the premier level contenders in eighth place with Hayden Paddon suffering a heavy crash on SS7 while leading and has been taken to hospital as a precaution, while Hyundai teammate Andreas Mikkelsen suffered a mechanical failure and stopped on the same stage.

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