WRC Portugal: Sebastien Ogier holds narrow lead

Sebastien Ogier holds a narrow lead at the end of an action-packed first morning of the Rally of Portugal, while Dani Sordo gave the Hyundai i20 its first World Rally Championship stage win

WRC Portugal: Sebastien Ogier holds narrow lead

The Spaniard benefitted from the lead cars sweeping the loose gravel off the racing line in the first two stages and posted the quickest times in both to take the rally lead.

His position at the top was short-lived, however, as he was unable to match his stage-winning speed in the final test of the morning, which he finished 19.4s off the ultimate pace, set by Jari-Matti Latvala.

While Sordo dropped to fifth overall, Ogier was able to reclaim his place at the summit of the event having finished in the top four in all three of the morning's stages.

He has been exercising a degree of caution in the opening loop and did admit to some difficulties, however.

"Some places are still quite muddy. It's tricky to anticipate," said the reigning champion.

"I'm not so happy with the car and that's not helped by carrying two spare wheels, but that's a team decision - not mine."

He holds a slender 0.4s lead over Latvala, with a resurgent Mikko Hirvonen currently third and Ott Tanak showing strong pace in the M-Sport Ford.

Almodovar, the final stage of the morning, claimed three casualties in quick succession.

Elfyn Evans stopped 17 kilometres into the test and was running 10th before his misfortune, while Juho Hanninen suffered a puncture and lost the best part of two minutes before dropping down the order.

Robert Kubica is reported to have clipped a rock 10km before the finish which took a wheel off his Fiesta RS WRC.

His car then caused a blockage which took 10 minutes to remove. Both he and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak are said to be okay.

Leading positions after SS4: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier VW 44m28.3s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +0.4s 3. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +2.3s 4. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford +5.5s 5. Dani Sordo Hyundai +8.9s 6. Mads Ostberg Citroen +9.0s 7. Thierry Neuville Hyundai +33.6s 8. Henning Solberg Solberg Ford +1m06.4s 09. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +1m22.2s 10. Kris Meeke Citroen +1m25.6s 

Follow Rally Mexico as it happens with AUTOSPORT Live.

shares
comments
Help Woody: Motorsport rallies round

Previous article

Help Woody: Motorsport rallies round

Next article

WRC Portugal: Mikko Hirvonen moves into the lead ahead of Ogier

WRC Portugal: Mikko Hirvonen moves into the lead ahead of Ogier
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Ogier
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021