Monday 22 May 2017

Rally - Ogier in Portugal

With his second victory of the season, Sébastien Ogier increased his FIA World Rally Championship lead in Portugal at the weekend beating Thierry Neuville by 15.6 seconds.

“After the struggle we had in the last round, it’s fantastic to be back on the top step of the podium again,” said Ogier, "we had a new car in Monte-Carlo and we won. I had a new car here and we won. I’m not sure if the team can afford to give me a new car for every rally!”

Ogier was just one of seven different drivers to lead this sixth round of the series. Neuville topped the standings in his Hyundai i20 Coupe after Thursday night’s opening speed test, but slipped back before recovering to second. Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo finished a further 46.1sec behind in third.

Ott Tänak looked to be the man to beat on Saturday. He led before swiping a bank and breaking his Fiesta’s suspension and brakes. He recovered to finish fourth, almost half a minute adrift of Sordo.

Craig Breen was again the leading Citroën C3 driver in fifth, the fourth occasion in six rallies he has occupied that position. He was 27.2sec adrift of Tänak, but well over a minute clear of Elfyn Evans’ Fiesta which had lost time on the first day with a puncture and a slight 'off'.

On the second stage of the rally Kris Meeke and Craig Breen moved up to join the frontrunners and at the end of the morning loop, Kris was second overall, half a second behind Latvala, whilst Craig was fourth, 1.4s adrift of the leader.

Meeke moved into first place at the end of SS5. But on the next stage, the lead changed hands for the sixth time in as many stages when Kris dropped down to fifth overall due to a slow puncture.

On SS7, widely expected to be the most demanding on the cars, Meeke damaged part of the suspension following an impact with a concrete block. Like two other potential winners, he dropped out of the leading group.

Despite suffering a broken damper a few kilometres into SS7, Breen managed to hold onto fourth position. The Irishman lost a few more seconds on the two Braga super special stages, ending the leg 12.9s behind the rally leader, Tänak.

1. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:42:55.7
2. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +15.6
3. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) 1:01.7
4. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1:30.2
5. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:57.4
6. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:10.6
7. Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:48.9
8. Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +5:29.7
9 Latvala/Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +5:43.6
10 Lappi/Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +8:13.3

Drivers' Standings:
1. Sébastien Ogier - 128
2. Thierry Neuville - 106
3. Jari-Matti Latvala - 88
4. Ott Tänak - 83
5. Dani Sordo - 66
6. Elfyn Evans - 53
7. Craig Breen - 43
8. Hayden Paddon - 33
9. Kris Meeke - 27
10. Juha Hänninen - 21

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