2019 Rally Portugal: Tänak Holds On To Tight Lead in Three Way Battle

by Steven Batey

Ott Tänak leads from Kris Meeke and Thierry Neuville with the trio being separated by just 9.2 seconds at the end of day two of Rally Portugal.

The Estonian continues to top the leaderboard despite having his overnight 17.3 seconds margin slashed to just 4.3 seconds, although Meeke is now the man behind rather than Toyota teammate Jari-Matti Latvala.

Latvala had been seeing his tyre choice paying dividends on Saturday morning before damaging a damper on stage 11. This cost him time on both that and then the following stages before he retired ahead of the final stage of the day.

Tänak also broke a damper like his teammate, this time on stage 13, but managed to finish the stage dropping 12.7 seconds to stage winner Neuville.

Ogier is fourth. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Behind, fourth is Sebastien Ogier who is a further 11.8 seconds adrift after a relatively quiet day for the defending world champion, with Citroen teammate Esapekka Lappi completing the top five overall, although over a minute down on the Frenchman.

A consistent day for Lappi helped him pull away from leading M-Sport driver Teemu Suninen, who sits sixth now 25.1 seconds behind. He leads teammate Elfyn Evans in the standings, who continues to recover after his electrical problems yesterday.

Greensmith went into a ditch on the final stage on Saturday. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Gus Greensmith had been ever-improving on his debut outing in a current-generation WRC car, but the British driver slid into a ditch on the final stage on Saturday evening and he was forced to retire from the days action.

WRC2 PRO is now being led by Kalle Rovanperä after Skoda teammate Jan Kopecký lost time after his bonnet flung open midway through a stage earlier in the day although the Czech driver remains second in class while WRC2 is being led by Pierre- Louis Loubet ahead of Emil Bergkvist.

Overnight leader on Friday in WRC2 Ole Christian Veiby, saw his Volkswagen Polo, the second on the same event, catch fire on stage 10 and he was forced to withdraw from the rally as a result.

The final day of action on Rally Portugal sees a total of five stages to decide the winner of the seventh round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship.

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