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Gravel Notes Podcast: WRC Portugal review

Sebastien Ogier chalked up the impressive milestone of 60 career World Rally Championship victories at Rally Portugal, while Thierry Neuville opened up a 24-point lead in the title race.

Winner Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais emerged from a rally that had five different leaders to defeat Hyundai’s rejuvenated Ott Tanak to take a second win of the season by 7.9s. The victory marked a record sixth Rally Portugal triumph, moving him one clear of WRC legend Markku Alen.  

Tanak delivered his best performance of the season to date to challenge Ogier for the win, with his bid only dented by a stage 13 puncture. A first podium of the year, following a difficult start to the season, moved the Estonian to third in the championship, 31 points adrift of team-mate Neuville, who took a significant stride in his pursuit of a maiden world title.

Neuville managed to smartly limit the damage of starting first on the road and took advantage of high-profile retirements for Toyota duo Kalle Rovanpera and Takamoto Katsuta, to finish third.

It proved to be a weekend to forget for Neuville’s nearest rival Elfyn Evans, who picked up only six points. The Welshman struggled for confidence in GR Yaris, suffered a puncture, a broken radiator and survived a bizarre pacenote drama in what proved to be a difficult rally.

M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux slipped to fourth in the championship behind Tanak despite producing a fine run to fourth in the rally, ahead of the returning Dani Sordo for Hyundai. 

In the latest edition of Gravel Notes, Autosport’s WRC reporter Tom Howard is joined by rally journalist Luke Barry to dissect all the key talking points from Portugal, including the WRC Promoter’s vision for the future of the category. The pair also select their stars, unsung heroes and best quotes from the rally.

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