Dani Sordo set the pace during shakedown for the 2017 Vodafone Rally de Portugal, held on the 4.61km Baltar stage.
The Hyundai i20 Coupe driver finished with a time of 3 minutes 6.9 seconds, just one tenth of a second ahead of championship leader Sébastien Ogier‘s Ford Fiesta, with Jari-Matti Latvala another tenth of a second behind in the Toyota Yaris.
Mads Østberg set a benchmark time at the start of the sandy test in his privatly run Ford Fiesta before Sordo beat his time, which he then bettered on both his second and third runs.
“It was a really good morning, I’m happy with the car,” said the Spaniard. “There’s nothing really different on the car compared to the last round in Argentina, but I made small changes in shakedown in the suspension which went in a good direction.
“The stages are soft in some places but other parts are very compact, so in the second pass the roads will be a little bit destroyed. The rally organisation has done a really good job on the roads ahead of the rally.”
Ogier’s time came on his third run while Latvala chose to run a further test. Citroen’s Kris Meeke made five passes through the stage, setting his best time on the final attempt to put him in fourth position, 0.3s behind Sordo. DMACK’s Elfyn Evans rounded out the top five positions with a time of 3 minutes 7.5 seconds.
Andreas Mikkelsen was the fastest of the WRC2 runners with a time of 3 minutes 13.6 seconds in the Skoda Fabia R5, nearly two and a half seconds ahead of second placed Eric Camilli in the Ford Fiesta. Pontus Tidemand completed the top three positions for the class. Britain’s Gus Greensmith finished the session seventh in class.
Jakub Brzezinski topped the times for the WRC3 competitors in his Citroen DS3 R3T Max ahead of the two Ford Fiesta R2T’s of Nicolas Ciamin and Nil Solans.
In the WRC Trophy Martin Prokop lead the way in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC ahead of Valeriy Gorban‘s Mini John Cooper Works WRC and Jean-Michel Raoux‘s Citroen DS3 WRC.
The opening stage of the Vodafone Rally de Portugal will take place tonight on the Super Special Stage at Lousada, before a full day of action tomorrow.