Ogier Leads Rally Portugal After Tanak Mistake

by James Thompson

Sébastien Ogier leads Vodafone Rally de Portugal heading into the final day of competition, after trouble struck previous leader Ott Tanak.

Ogier trailed his M-Sport team-mate Tanak by 5 seconds starting the day and took full advantage when Tanak hit a bank and broke his suspension.

The Frenchman holds a 17 second lead over Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai and is currently on course to equal Markku Alen’s record of five Rally Portugal victories.

While day two was less dramatic than the previous day, it still saw major changes at the top of the leaderboard.

Freed from his day one road sweeping duties Ogier was determined to chase down this Estonian team-mate and closed the gap to 1.1 seconds after the first stage, taking second place from Hyundai’s Dani Sordo in the process.

However, Tanak hit back on the next stage, he was 5.2 seconds faster than Ogier and bought the gap back up to 6.3 seconds.

Yet on the next stage, he clouted a bank, damaged the Fiesta’s suspension and had to limp the car through 20kms losing 1 minute 23 seconds and dropped to fifth place.

Ott Tanak was successfully holding off team-mate and championship Sébastien Ogier for the rally lead, until the Estonian clouted a bank and lost a minute and a half. Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Ogier now lead from Neuville and throughout the rest of the day he kept the gap between the two championship rivals at around 20 seconds, despite Neuville taking 6 seconds out of that lead on the final stage of the day.

The top two had dropped Sordo at a rate of 10 seconds per stage and the Spaniard found himself 50 seconds off the lead by the end of the day.

Tanak meanwhile ended the day in fourth place, having passed the Citroen of Craig Breen after the Irishman made a wrong tyre choice on the final stage of the day and compounded that with a spin.

Behind him was the DMACK Fiesta of Elfyn Evans who had lost more than a minute when he suffered a puncture on stage 11.

After losing five minutes yesterday with a roll, Jari-Matti Latvala had managed to craw his Toyota back into the points, ending the day in ninth.

In WRC2, Skoda’s Andreas Mikkelsen continued to pull away from his opponents and now holds a lead of over three minutes in the class.

Andreas Mikkelsen once again holds a commanding lead in WRC2, he is three minutes ahead of his nearest competitor. Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Behind him team-mate Pontus Tidemand came out on top of a rally long battle with the M-Sport driver Teemu Suninen, but the two were only separated by 19 seconds.

Britain’s Gus Greensmith continued to show fantastic pace aboard the new Ford Fiesta R5, as he tried to recover after losing 10 minutes the previous.

Despite encountering more mechanical problems during the day, he passed M-Sport team leader Éric Camilli for eighth in class on the final stage of the day when the Frenchman was forced to stop to clear a rock which had jammed under his wheel.

In WRC3 Mexican Citroen driver Francisco Name jr. currently leads but faces a tough fight to hold off a charging Raphael Astier.

Name had taken the lead when long time leader Jakub Brzeziński retired, but Astier, who lost 10 minute

s on the final stage of day one, is only 48 seconds behind and is eyeing up another WRC3 win.

In the WRC Trophy Martin Prokop holds a seven minute lead over Valeriy Gorban’s Mini John Cooper Works WRC.

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