Toyota’s Ott Tanak leads the World Rally Championship’s Rally Portugal round after the opening superspecial stage on the Lousada rallycross circuit, beating Teemu Suninen by four tenths of a second.
Suninen set the early pace in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta with a 2m34.7s time set in the second WRC head-to-head run, but that time was eventually beaten by Tanak – who topped the times with his 2m34.3s set on the penultimate head-to-head.
Tanak therefore picks up where he left off after his dominant victory on last month’s round in Argentina.
Points leader Sebastien Ogier was third in his M-Sport Ford after matching Suninen’s time.
Citroen’s Kris Meeke and Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen sit fourth and fifth – also equal on times – and a further second back.
Thierry Neuville was sixth, one-tenth down on team-mate Mikkelsen, with the Ford of Elfyn Evans seventh having sustained damage in the shakedown.
The Briton split the leading two Hyundais from the third i20 of Dani Sordo – who matched Evans’s time – in eighth, ahead of Citroen’s Mads Ostberg and the second Toyota of Esapekka Lappi.
Hayden Paddon set a 2m36.7s on his run to take 11th in a fourth Hyundai. Paddon and Sordo have been sharing a car this year and this is the only round that both will appear on.
The third Citroen C3 of Craig Breen will start Friday’s running in 12th, ahead of shakedown pacesetter Jari-Matti Latvala, who was 13th in his Toyota with a time of 2m38.2s after stalling at final corner.
WRC2 points leader Pontus Tidemand was the fastest in that class.
His run of 2m40.5s in his Skoda was 1.2s faster than that of Gus Greensmith, who said his Ford Fiesta’s engine “kept stopping” on his run.
|1||Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||2m34.3s|
|2||Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||0.4s|
|2||Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||0.4s|
|4||Kris Meeke, P.Nagle||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||1.4s|
|4||Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||1.4s|
|6||Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||1.5s|
|7||Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||1.6s|
|7||Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||1.6s|
|9||Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||1.7s|
|10||Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1.8s|
|11||Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||2.4s|
|12||Craig Breen, S.Martin||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||2.5s|
|13||Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||3.9s|
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