Rallying-Tanak leads in Portugal as Neuville rolls
Hyundai’s Ott Tanak led Rally Portugal after Friday’s first leg, while Belgian teammate and title contender Thierry Neuville withdrew from competition.
LISBON: Hyundai’s Ott Tanak led Rally Portugal after Friday’s first leg, while Belgian teammate and title contender Thierry Neuville exited the competition.
Neuville, second in the championship behind Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier after three rounds, pushed the car straight up after the crash on stage seven before retiring with a broken suspension.
Estonian Tanak was 6.0 seconds ahead of Toyota’s Elfyn Evans at the end of the day in central Portugal, with Hyundai’s Dani Sordo three seconds more.
Championship leader Ogier was fourth, 24 seconds behind the lead.
In third place WRC3, former Chelsea and Olympique de Marseille football coach André Villas-Boas reached the end of the first leg of his first WRC rally on his Citroën C3. The 43-year-old finished 15th of 24 in the category.
Sordo won two of the first three gravel stages to lead halfway with new co-driver Borja Rozada, but then stalled in the penultimate test of the day and Tanak, who had a puncture in the after- noon, passed by.
“It has by no means been without a problem so it is positive to lead the rally,” said the Estonian.
“We did what we could to get the most out of the car on these gravel roads, but it was a tough day. Although we had some stage wins, I felt there was still room for improvement at times. “
Neuville said he got into a corner too quickly and was trying to correct it “there was something like a tree stump that pulled us over to our side”.
“We did our best to fix things on the road, but unfortunately the suspension was damaged so the game was over for the day.”
(Report by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)