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M-Sport's Sebastien Ogier explains WRC Rally Portugal crash

Sebastien Ogier has explained the Rally of Portugal crash which could cost him the lead of the World Rally Championship this weekend

Despite running first on the road, Ogier was in fourth position and just 7.3s off the lead when he started the afternoon's re-run stages.

The Frenchman's M-Sport Ford Fiesta then slid off the road in Viana do Castelo.

"There was a bank on the inside of a corner, I thought it was just a bank with gravel on," Ogier told Autosport.

"I had 'don't cut' in my notes, but I was a bit too early [turning in to the corner] and I decided to stay on the throttle and keep the speed because there was a small straight afterwards.

"Unfortunately it wasn't just some gravel, there was a small stump in the bank.

"We had a sharp impact and I thought maybe we had a puncture or bent a bit the steering.

"But then when I braked for the next corner the [steering] arm came out and I could do nothing."

Ogier will re-start round six tomorrow, but his early departure leaves his 10-point lead in the title race exposed, with chief rival Thierry Neuville leading at the end of day one.

Ogier refused to be rattled about potential championship connotations.

"It won't be a good weekend for the championship, but it's not dramatic. I see the positive and maybe I won't open the road on the next one.

"What's frustrating is that I think we were doing an amazing day; doing what we were doing first on the road means we had to be flat-out and take risks.

"This sort of thing can be part of the game when you take all of the risks to compensate for the [road] position. It's not easy."

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