Thierry Neuville has strengthened his advantage in the lead of Rally de Portugal with almost a half-minute gap to Elfyn Evans as Kris Meeke’s frustrating event ends in a crash.

After seeing main World Rally Championship rivals tumble out of contention on a day of high attrition in Portugal, Neuville has stepped up his charge to victory on SS12, Amarante 1, to push out his lead to 29.9s having seen his advantage initially cut to under 13s by Evans after SS11.

Citroen’s painful Rally de Portugal continued with Meeke crashing out on SS12 having finished Friday’s action on three wheels due to two separate tyres issues.

At the front, Hyundai’s Sordo has closed to within five seconds on Evans for second place while stretching the gap to fellow M-Sport Ford driver Teemu Suninen in fourth place.

Lead Toyota challenger Esapekka Lappi, who saw teammates Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala both drop out early on, is fifth just 4.8s off of fellow countryman Suninen and 23s ahead of Mads Osbterg in the Citroen in sixth place.

Craig Breen holds a distant seventh place over two minutes off of teammate Ostberg with fellow Citroen driver Stephane Lefebvre leading the WRC 2 classification in eighth place overall.

Latvala, Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen have all restarted under Rally 2 rules after dropping out of the event on Friday.

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