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
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Kris Meeke , Thierry Neuville
Author Graham Keilloh
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
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