WRC Rally of Portugal: Ogier takes comfortable second win of season

Sebastien Ogier rebuilt his World Rally Championship lead in Portugal by sealing his first victory since his M-Sport Ford debut in Monte Carlo four months ago

WRC Rally of Portugal: Ogier takes comfortable second win of season

Ogier took charge of the second half of a rally that had begun wide open through its first leg and ended up winning by 15.6 seconds over title rival Thierry Neuville's Hyundai.

Leg one had featured six different rally leaders in as many stages and a point where eight cars were within 8.9 seconds in a constantly fluctuating battle up front.

That began to break up on Friday afternoon, when Jari-Matti Latvala rolled his Toyota while second, Kris Meeke broke his Citroen's suspension while pushing to get back into the lead and Hayden Paddon's Hyundai was stopped by an electrical glitch for 11 minutes while a close third.

Ott Tanak emerged from that chaos in the lead, despite slightly damaging his M-Sport Ford on Friday'spenultimate full-length stage.

Ogier had been as low as eighth while running first on the road, but started making progress through Fridayafternoon.

A stage win on Saturday's opener brought him up to second and to within 1.1s of his rally-leading team-mate.

Tanak immediately fought back with a blistering time on the next stage that brought his lead back up to six seconds, but then on the stage after that he broke his Fiesta's rear suspension and tumbled out of victory contention.

That left Ogier free to control the rest of the event.

Neuville made his way through to second ahead of Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo despite initially struggling with his smooth driving style on a rally that favoured a more sideways approach.

That left him a baffled 12th on Friday morning before he adjusted his approach and regained ground.

Tanak recovered to fourth - and secured three bonus points for the fastest time on the Powerstage - ahead of Craig Breen, who was in the lead fight before breaking a damper in his Citroen on Friday afternoon.

Elfyn Evans was also in the thick of things early on, before two punctures - one of which he readily admitted he caused by going off the road - consigned him to sixth.

Evans was not the only DMACK World Rally Car runner this time as Mads Ostberg made an eleventh-hour switch for his privately-entered Ford.

A puncture dropped Ostberg back on Friday and he finished eighth.

Toyota's first event with a three-car line-up brought seventh, ninth and 10th with Juho Hanninen, the delayed Latvala and Esapekka Lappi on his first start for the manufacturer.

Newcomer Lappi matched Hanninen's pace for much of the weekend but a holed intercooler, struggling to restart after stalling once and then suspension damage cost him ground.

Meeke and Paddon spent the weekend running well down the order under Rally2 after their Friday dramas, while Stephane Lefebvre was also well outside the points in the third Citroen following a leg one crash.

Andreas Mikkelsen had utterly dominated WRC2 for Skoda and held a lead of more than three minutes, before a roll on the Powerstage gifted victory to his team-mate Pontus Tidemand.

LEADING FINISHERS AFTER SS19:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3h42m55.7s
2 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 15.6s
3 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m01.7s
4 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m30.2s
5 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m57.4s
6 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3m10.6s
7 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 3m48.9s
8 Mads Ostberg, O.Floene M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 5m29.7s
9 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 5m43.6s
10 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 8m13.3s

LEADING POWERSTAGE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 6m38.3s
2 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 0.4s
3 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1.5s
4 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 1.7s
5 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2.3s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 128
2 Thierry Neuville 106
3 Jari-Matti Latvala 88
4 Ott Tanak 83
5 Dani Sordo 66
6 Elfyn Evans 53
7 Craig Breen 43
8 Hayden Paddon 33
9 Kris Meeke 27
10 Juho Hanninen 21
11 Andreas Mikkelsen 12
12 Stephane Lefebvre 10
13 Mads Ostberg 6
14 Teemu Suninen 5
15 Jan Kopecky 4
16 Pontus Tidemand 4
17 Esapekka Lappi 3
18 Stephane Sarrazin 2
19 Yohan Rossel 1
20 Bryan Bouffier 1

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WRC Rally of Portugal: Championship leader Ogier maintains lead

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