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
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022