Rally de Portugal - Classification (After Leg 1)

Ott Tanak put himself in strong position to notch up back-to-back World Rally Championship wins on the Rally de Portugal as he steadily eked out his lead on leg one.

Despite starting a relatively unfavourable second on the road behind ‘sweeper’ Sebastien Ogier, Tanak was consistently quick all day and collected time where his rivals dropped it with various issues.

As such, he ends leg one a comfortable 17.3secs up on an exciting fight brewing for second place behind involving four drivers. As it stands, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke hold second and third in the sister Yaris’ as Toyota lock out the top three, but Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Citroen’s Ogier are just behind, the four covered by just eight seconds.

Meeke might feel aggrieved not to be closer to Tanak but for an issue that prevented him from hearing his co-driver’s pace notes, but fourth place Neuville proved the driver on an upward curve during the afternoon loop as he moved back into contention.

Championship leader Ogier, meanwhile, will be pleased to still be in the hunt despite his road position in his Citroen C3.

Neuville’s late rally brought some happiness to the Hyundai squad after seeing Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb both fall by the wayside with similar fuel-related technical issues. Sordo led initially before his issues on SS3 held him back, with Loeb also dropping out on the same test.

Teemu Suninen and Elfyn Evans showed competitive pace but both also fell foul of technical problems through the day, the former slipping more than a minute adrift in sixth and the latter dropping back to 16th with brake and throttle issues respectively.

Making his WRC debut this weekend, Briton Gus Greensmith was a trouble-free seventh after day one, ahead of Citroen’s Esapekka Lappi.

In WRC2, Volkswagen’s Ole Christian Veiby holds a slender lead over Jan Kopecky, who in turn is tailed closely by fellow Skoda driver Kalle Rovanpera.

 

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