Halfway through the first day of the Rally of Portugal is Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris WRC) to the pipe. The Est has Friday afternoon, 6.9 seconds ahead of his teammate Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris WRC). Kris Meeke (Toyota Yaris WRC) is third and provides a fully Toyota-stage. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) had a difficult morning and is only seventh.
World CHAMPIONSHIP leader Sébastien Ogier (Citroen C3 WRC) had the dubious honor of being the first on to the track. Not a benefit on the stofferige Portuguese roads. This can also be seen immediately from his reaction after the first ride. “It’s pretty smooth. We do what We can. We have a little bit enjoyed the Portuguese sun”, said a cynical Ogier.
Tänak set a fast time, what is not said could be Thierry Neuville, who with a ninth time. It was striking that corijder Nicolas Gilsoul several times via the intercom asked if everything was okay with his rider. “I am too careful. Gradually it got better, but in the beginning I have some time. Between the trees, continued to be the fabric hang what the visibility is not that good,” said Thierry Neuville on arrival.
In the second stage of the day left Neuville the motor turn, and dropped he away to the tenth place. A stark contrast to team-mate Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), which much later was started, and this again showed that a good starting position on this kind of stofferig trail is crucial. But the joy for the Spaniard was of short duration. The klassementsrit of Arganil, for the first time since 2001 will again be included in the trail, kept his reputation from the dramatic and historic ride high. The Hyundai’s of Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo had to deal with almost identical technical problems. Loeb lost more than a quarter of an hour, Dani Sordo had his car on the side. A big disappointment for Hyundai Motorsport, the leader in the constructors in the world CHAMPIONSHIP standings, ahead of the Rally of Portugal, the Norwegian Mikkelsen was replaced by the Act. Esapekka Lappi (Citroen C3 WRC) had a puncture and lost over a minute.
Thierry Neuville did it in contrast to his team-mates Loeb and Sordo excellent at Arganil and rode the second time to 1.7 seconds from Ott Tänak in the lead, took over from the unfortunate Sordo. Jari-Matti Latvala had an excellent morning and as a second short distance of his teammate.
Friday mornings are the same rides as in the morning driven. With the rugged trail and the high temperatures it becomes a challenge for man and machine. The day ends with a superspecial on the rallycrosscircuit of Lousada.