Ott Tanak leads WRC Rally Portugal Toyota 1-2-3 after Sordo drama

Toyota World Rally Championship driver Ott Tanak leads team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke after the opening morning of Rally Portugal, as drama befell early leader Dani Sordo

Ott Tanak leads WRC Rally Portugal Toyota 1-2-3 after Sordo drama

Hyundai's Sordo was 4.2 seconds faster than Tanak's Toyota on the opening Lousa stage, with both M-Sport's Teemu Suninen and Tanak's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala within 0.6s of the leading time.

Tanak immediately responded on the following Gois test, clawing 3.9s back from Sordo to trim the Hyundai's lead to just 0.5s.

But the battle was defused when Sordo's Hyundai slowed immediately on stage three.

Sordo was visibly frustrated when the Hyundai lost power and stopped several times with what has been confirmed as a fuel-related problem.

Latvala lost a little ground on stage three Arganil to end the morning 6.9s shy of Tanak, confessing his team-mate's driving had been "amazing" given he was second in the road order.

Meeke completes the Toyota lock-out of the top three positions, but he suffered a scare in stage two when the intercom in his Toyota Yaris WRC failed, forcing co-driver Sebastian Marshall to use hand signals instead.

The Toyota driver is only 14s away from the lead.

M-Sport's Suninen is fourth after setting the third-fastest time on the opening stage which was 3s behind Meeke.

Suninen's team-mate Elfyn Evans completed the morning fifth and is 21.7s down on the rally leader after hurrying away from stage ends.

Championship leader Ogier lost time throughout the morning as the first car into the stages, sweeping the loose gravel clear for his pursuing rivals.

The Citroen driver lost 23.1s to Tanak across the morning loop, but the defending champion's clean drive places him sixth.

On his first rally since his big accident in Chile earlier this month, Thierry Neuville could only manage ninth overall after a troubled morning.

He admitted he was "too careful" on the opening stage before stalling at a junction and losing several seconds as he tried to restart his i20.

Neuville responded strongly on stage three to closing to within 0.5s of Ogier for seventh overall.

Citroen's Esapekka Lappi had enjoyed a strong start to his rally, running sixth after the opening two stages.

But Lappi picked up a front-left puncture on the final stage of the morning, losing 1m14s and falling to ninth on the leaderboard.

Sebastien Loeb, who has replaced Andreas Mikkelsen in the Hyundai line-up for Portugal, had been lying ninth overall behind Ogier after the first two stages but came to a stop early on stage three in a similar fashion to Sordo.

The nine-time champion slowed to a halt mid-stage and began pumping his accelerator as he tried to troubleshoot the issue.

He crawled to the end of the stage but lost 15 minutes.

Loeb's issues elevated Gus Greensmith up to eighth on his World Rally car debut for M-Sport.

WRC2 Pro leader Kalle Rovanpera completes the top 10 in his Skoda Fabia R5.

Leading positions after SS3

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota 30m30.8s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota 6.9s
3 Kris Meeke, S.Marshall Toyota 14.0s
4 Teemu Suninen, M.Salminen Ford 17.0s
5 Elfyn Evans, S.Martin Ford 21.7s
6 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Citroen 23.1s
7 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai 23.6s
8 Gus Greensmith, E.Edmondson Ford 40.3s
9 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Citroen 1m15.1s
10 Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen Skoda 1m28.3s

shares
comments
WRC crews want larger Rally Portugal running order gaps due to dust

Previous article

WRC crews want larger Rally Portugal running order gaps due to dust

Next article

WRC Rally Portugal: Ott Tanak pulls clear of Jari-Matti Latvala

WRC Rally Portugal: Ott Tanak pulls clear of Jari-Matti Latvala
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021