WRC Portugal: Mikko Hirvonen moves into the lead ahead of Ogier
|Friday, April 4th 2014, 16:47 GMT|
Mikko Hirvonen has taken the lead of the Rally of Portugal after moving 6.5 seconds clear of Sebastien Ogier at the end of the opening leg.
The Finn began Friday afternoon's trio of stages in third, behind Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala, before the latter had a mid-stage mishap and flipped his Polo R into a roll after hitting a rock face.
His early bath put an end to what was shaping up to be an exciting battle between the two Volkswagen drivers, but Ogier went on to post the quickest time of the stage and Hirvonen and Tanak were promoted to second and third respectively.
Second stage honours went to Thierry Neuville, who gave Hyundai its third win of the day, while Hirvonen gained 2.0s on rally leader Ogier.
The M-Sport driver then stole the overall lead by beating the reigning world champion by an impressive 8.9s in the final stage and now sits 3.7s ahead of Ott Tanak, who moved into second on the final test.
The Estonian clawed back 7.2s over Ogier on the second run through Almodovar and just 6.5s cover the top three as the event enters its third day.
Mads Ostberg is a distant fourth and has Dani Sordo just 0.1s away in fifth, the Spaniard lucky to finish the final stage after a problem with his sump guard.
Kris Meeke was less fortunate, however, as the Citroen driver rolled out 16.9km into the stage.
Leading positions after SS7: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford 1h25m05.6s 2. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford +3.7s 3. Sebastien Ogier VW +6.5s 4. Mads Ostberg Citroen +25.6s 5. Dani Sordo Hyundai +25.7s 6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai +42.0s 7. Henning Solberg Solberg Ford +1m42.3s 8. Juho Hanninen Hyundai +1m58.2s 9. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +2m16.2s 10. Martin Prokop Czech Ford +2m59.2s