Rally Portugal – Fierce fight in the lead, the top 4 together in 5 seconds and Rovanperä in the lead

Magnificent first stage in Portugal, with the three Toyotas and Ott Tänak engaged in a very close match. In WRC2, Yohan Rossel puts pressure on Oliver Solberg.

Published on 10/05/2024 à 19:34

Medhi Casaurang

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Rally Portugal – Fierce fight in the lead, the top 4 together in 5 seconds and Rovanperä in the lead

Kalle Rovanperä takes the lead in Portugal. © DPPI / Nikos Natikis

General classification Rally of Portugal 2024 – Stage 1:

  • Le WRC has only three manufacturers, and yet the competition is sumptuous. At the end of the first 9 special stages, it is impossible to say who will win, or even to determine the top 5 with certainty! The fight is fierce, and the driver in the leading position has never had more than a handful of seconds over his rivals.
  • This Friday evening, it's Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) which takes the lead. Toyota's luxury freelancer is only one second ahead of another highly talented freelancer, Sébastien Ogier. In the lead during the morning, Takamoto Katsuta maintains an eloquent pace and can claim victory.
  • On the side of Hyundai, the championship leader Thierry Neuville suffered somewhat from his role as sweeper on this gravel rally. The men of Cyril Abiteboul therefore trust the other representative of the team, Ott Tänak, to aim for victory. The Estonian finally seems at ease in the i20 hybrid, which should reassure him after a difficult start to the season.
  • For his return to the WRC in 2024, Dani Sordo (Hyundai) took 3 fastest times, but lost too much time on SS 2 and SS 9 to be able to do better than 6th place.
  • At M-Sport Ford, we observe the fight from afar. Grégoire Munster discovers the Rally of Portugal at the wheel of a powerful Rally1 hybrid, whileAdrien fourmaux take care of his mount. The Frenchman plays it smart, he remains positioned to score the maximum number of points Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime!
  • Today’s galley slave is Elfyn Evans (Toyota). The Welshman lost a minute with a puncture on the right front, but his co-driver Scott Martin made the mistake of leaving his notebook on the marshals' table at the stop point of SS 6! He therefore had to read the notes on his smartphone, not an ideal solution which caused several mistakes in the enunciation of the notes. Evans is thrown out with over a minute left.
  • On a surface which is not his preference, Yohan Rossel (Citroën) plays the leading roles. The Frenchman puts pressure on WRC2 leader Oliver Solberg (Skoda). The Swede was handicapped by an engine problem at the start of the afternoon and lost his entire lead over the DG Sport Compétition Citroën. The two men are only separated by 7 seconds!
  • Then leader in WRC3, the young Frenchman Tom Pieri (Renault) went into barrels. He and his co-driver Alexis Maillefert were unhurt, but an excellent potential result was lost. Bruno Bulacia (Ford) took the lead, and the first Frenchman was Mattéo Chatillon (Renault) in 4th place at 40 seconds.
  • The second stage of the 2024 Rally Portugal will begin on Saturday at 9:05 a.m. and will be followed live with commentary on AUTOhebdo.fr

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Medhi Casaurang

Passionate about the history of motorsport across all disciplines, I learned to read thanks to AUTOhebdo. At least that's what my parents tell everyone when they see my name inside!

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