WRC Portugal: Toyota's Tanak wins, Meeke retires on powerstage

Toyota's Ott Tanak won his second successive World Rally Championship round with victory on Rally Portugal ahead of Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, as team-mate Kris Meeke retired on the final stage

WRC Portugal: Toyota's Tanak wins, Meeke retires on powerstage

Meeke was running third heading into the powerstage, but clipped an object on the inside of a right-hander that instantly broke the front-right corner of his Yaris.

Sebastien Ogier was promoted into third, with Tanak's winning margin over Neuville standing at 15.9s.

Ogier remains the championship leader by two points after winning the powerstage.

Tanak was third-fastest after backing off at the end of the test to ensure his rival sweeps the road first on the next round in Sardinia.

Tanak hit the front on stage three on Friday morning, when early leader Dani Sordo ran into trouble.

Sordo had held a slim lead over Tanak, but fuel pressure issues dropped him well out of contention.

Although Tanak would never relinquish the lead, he was not able to establish a comfortable advantage with both his team-mates Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala chasing him hard.

Latvala hounded Tanak on Saturday, opting for a harder tyre compound that handsomely paid off. Trailing by just 5.1s, Latvala was geared up for an attack but retired late in the day with a broken damper.

Tanak also broke his damper and, even though he managed to continue, Meeke spotted his chance and ended Saturday a mere 4.3s in arrears.

By then Neuville was also in contention, just 9.2s off the lead. He could not match Tanak on Sunday but was there to pick up the pieces when Meeke's rally unravelled on Sunday.

Ogier was lumbered with cleaning the road on Friday and struggled to keep up with the leading trio thereafter.

Teemu Suninen was in podium contention on Friday before losing breaks aboard his M-Sport Fiesta.

Suninen fell backwards to sixth, but recovered to take fourth place.

Elfyn Evans lost four minutes on Friday morning when a throttle pedal sensor became disconnected.

The M-Sport driver fixed it in stage, eventually salvaging fifth place after the late drama.

Kalle Rovanpera took a fine sixth place, winning the WRC2 Pro class on the debut of the new Skoda Fabia R5 Evo.

Team-mate Jan Kopecky finished a minute behind in eighth.

Latvala finished seventh after being given a notional time for the powerstage that elevated him above Kopecky, as his run was curtailed by a red flag caused by Gus Greensmith.

Greensmith had a mixed debut in a World Rally car, running seventh until ditching his M-Sport Fiesta on Saturday's final stage.

He returned on Sunday to run 11th, but the steering broke as he took off over Fafe's big jump on the powerstage, careering into a bank and into retirement just metres from the finish.

Esapekka Lappi retired from fifth on Sunday morning after rolling his Citroen C3 on the day's opening stage. He then wrecked suspension on the first of Fafe and was unable to continue.

Sebastien Loeb endured a torrid weekend for Hyundai.

He suffered the same fuel pressure problems as team-mate Sordo, and then destroyed the rear-left of his Hyundai on the Fafe powerstage after hitting something on an asphalt section.

Leading finishers

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 3h20m22.8s
2 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 15.9s
3 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Citroen Total WRT Citroen 57.1s
4 Teemu Suninen, M.Salminen M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 2m41.5s
5 Elfyn Evans, S.Martin M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 7m08.3s
6 Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen Skoda Motorsport Skoda 10m34.2s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 11m28.2s
8 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport Skoda 11m41.9s
9 Pierre-Louis Loubet, V.Landais Pierre-Louis Loubet Skoda 12m46.3s
10 Emil Bergkvist, P.Barth Emil Bergkvist Ford 14m28.4s

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 142
2 Ott Tanak 140
3 Thierry Neuville 132
4 Elfyn Evans 65
5 Kris Meeke 56
6 Teemu Suninen 44
7 Sebastien Loeb 39
8 Jari-Matti Latvala 38
9 Andreas Mikkelsen 36
10 Esapekka Lappi 34

Manufacturers' standings

Pos Team Points
1 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 202
2 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 182
3 Citroen Total WRT 158
4 M-Sport Ford WRT 122
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WRC Portugal: Toyota's Ott Tanak one stage away from victory

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