WRC Rally Portugal: Neuville adds to lead on Saturday as Meeke crashes

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville extended his overall Rally Portugal lead on Saturday morning, ending the loop half a minute clear of Elfyn Evans after a storming run on the final stage

WRC Rally Portugal: Neuville adds to lead on Saturday as Meeke crashes

World Rally Championship title hopeful Neuville was 0.9 seconds quicker than Evans on the opening stage of the day, the Viera do Minho test, but Evans then reduced Neuville's advantage from by six seconds to 12.7s by topping the second Cabeceiras de Basto stage.

Neuville insisted he was looking after his tyres with the long subsequent stage Amarante stage in mind, and duly stretched his lead by 17.2s on the 23.33-mile final stage of the loop with the fastest time through SS12 to leave him with a commanding advantage over the M-Sport Ford Fiesta of Evans.

Neuville's team-mate Dani Sordo, in third place overall, ended the morning only five seconds shy of Evans having also made ground on the Welshman on Amarante.

A productive morning from Toyota's Esapekka Lappi allowed the Finn to close within a handful of seconds of the M-Sport Fiesta of Teemu Suninen in fourth, with Lappi halving the deficit he started the day with.

Citroen's Mads Ostberg and Craig Breen are a distant sixth and seventh overall after delays earlier in the rally, and lost further time to the leaders by running earlier in the morning order.

Their team-mate Kris Meeke, who had been running seventh, had a spectacular crash on the final stage of the loop when his rear slid around on a left-hander, his Citroen ending up on its side in the trees.

Both Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle got out of the car and appeared OK.

Following their troubles yesterday, Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport Ford), Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala and Hyundai driver Andreas Mikkelsen all returned to the action under Rally2 rules on Saturday, with Latvala taking a stage win on the morning's opening test.

Follow Saturday afternoon's Rally Portugal stages from 3pm UK time with Autosport Live

Leading positions

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 2h27m03.0s
2 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 29.9s
3 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 34.9s
4 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 48.2s
5 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 59.4s
6 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m16.0s
7 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 3m42.4s
8 Stephane Lefebvre, G.Moreau Citroen Total Rallye Team Citroen 10m07.0s
9 Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda Motorsport Skoda 10m56.4s
10 Lukasz Pieniazek, P.Mazur Printsport Oy Skoda 11m09.1s


shares
comments
WRC Portugal: Neuville adds to lead on Friday evening Porto stages
Previous article

WRC Portugal: Neuville adds to lead on Friday evening Porto stages

Next article

WRC Rally Portugal: Thierry Neuville continues to build his lead

WRC Rally Portugal: Thierry Neuville continues to build his lead
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022