Hirvonen takes the lead in Portugal

Mikko Hirvonen has moved into the lead of the Rally of Portugal at the end of the opening day

Hirvonen takes the lead in Portugal

Citroen's Dani Sordo had been ahead going into the lunchtime service, but remarkably the Spaniard repeated the error his team leader Sebastien Loeb had made this morning and went off the road on the opening corner of the Ourique stage when it was re-run at the start of the loop.

That cost Sordo 20 seconds and allowed Hirvonen to make a break at the front of the field. The Ford driver resisted the temptation to drive tactically on the final stage and will be first on the road tomorrow, but he has established a 15s lead over the recovering Sordo.

After his error this morning, Loeb was able to make limited progress while running first on the dusty surface. He improved from seventh to third during the course of the day, but is 18s behind leader Hirvonen.

On his return to the World Rally Championship after over a year away, Marcus Gronholm (Prodrive Subaru) ran second until losing 20s on the final stage of the day, where he had to pass Khalid Al Qassimi's slowing Ford. That delay, plus a shock absorber problem and a slightly unsuccessful attempt at tactics, dropped Gronholm to fourth, but he is only 8s behind Loeb and will benefit from a better road position tomorrow.

Petter Solberg completes the top five in his self-run Citroen Xsara, and has steadied his deficit to the leaders at 42s, while also pulling clear of the battle for sixth.

Citroen Junior's Sebastien Ogier has improved his pace as the leg progressed and has now moved past his team-mate Evgeny Novikov and Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson to break into the top six.

Hampered by brake problems this morning, Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg was back on the pace for the repeat loop and has caught Novikov, ending the day just 0.1s behind the young Russian.

Mads Ostberg completes the top ten for Adapta Subaru, a comfortable distance clear of Citroen Junior's Conrad Rautenbach, who has driven a low-key rally after his shakedown crash.

Leading positions after day one:

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Mikko Hirvonen Ford 1h24m12.6 2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 15.0s 3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 18.0s 4. Marcus Gronholm Subaru + 25.9s 5. Petter Solberg Citroen + 42.2s 6. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 1m04.0s 7. Matthew Wilson Ford + 1m14.6s 8. Evgeny Novikov Citroen + 1m33.7s 9. Henning Solberg Ford + 1m33.8s 10. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 2m42.1s 
shares
comments
Latvala praises WRC safety measures
Previous article

Latvala praises WRC safety measures

Next article

Ford insists Latvala's drive is safe

Ford insists Latvala's drive is safe
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021