At close of play on Day2 of Rally de Portugal, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle had increased their overall. The Northern Irish-Irish crew had a 45.3s lead over Sebastien Ogier in the VW Polo. As for Abu Dhabi Total WRT team mates, both Stéphane Lefebvre and Khalid Al Qassimi were both forced to retire and intending to return under Rally2 rules on Sunday.
After stopping off in service at Matosinhos to fit soft compound Michelin LTX Force tyres, the competitors headed for Vila Real to contest the morning loop of three stages. Just a few kilometres into Baião (SS10), Stéphane Lefebvre hit a rock and broke his car’s suspension arm and had to retire.
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke secured the stage win. He repeated the feat on Marão and Amarante (SS11 and SS12), to extend his overall lead to more than a minute. For the second run on the stages, he opted to play it safe, taking two spare tyres with him. His tyre choice involved a combination of four soft and two hard compound tyres.
Consistency was the aim with three top 5 times despite carrying the extra weight. He ended the leg with a solid lead, 45.3s ahead of Sébastien Ogier and 48.4s clear of Andreas Mikkelsen.
At close of play Kris said: “I felt really comfortable in the car this morning. Paul was doing a great job alongside me so I was able to push and set three good times to increase my lead. This time, I have to say my road position was a clear advantage. Once the lead was over a minute, I could afford to take two spares for the second pass. I had expected it to cost me one or two tenths per kilometre and that’s exactly what I lost to Sébastien Ogier. So I’m really pleased with our performance today and I’m ready to defend this first place tomorrow. I couldn’t be happier tonight!”
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1, Meeke / Nagle (DS 3 WRC) 3:16:11.4
2, Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo-R WRC) +45.3
3, Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo-R WRC) +48.4
4, Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:20.0
5, Camilli / Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:04.2
6, Latvala / Anttila (VW Polo-R WRC) +4:07.8
7, Ostberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:32.8
8, Prokop / Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +8:11.8
9, Tidemand / Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) +9:54.2
10, Fuchs / Mussano (Skoda Fabia R5) +10:26.2