Sébastien Loeb / Isabelle Galmiche (Ford Puma Rally1) are the new leaders of Rally Portugal and they have Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Toyota Gr Yaris Rally1) in half a second.
Sébastien Loeb/Isabelle Galmiche (Ford Puma Rally1) was fastest in the Arganil division, beating Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai I20 N Rally1) by 2.8sec, with Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Gr Yaris Rally1) in 6.1sec.
Sebastien Ogier/Benjamin Villas (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) finished fourth with a time of 8.6sec, with Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Gr Yaris Rally1) giving up 10.6sec in this section, thus losing the Rally Portugal leadership, and is now in possession of Sebastien Loeb 0.5 seconds ahead of Elvin Evans. Great extension of the French.
Ott Tanak/Martin Yarvioga (Hyundai I20 N Rally1) was sixth and dropped to fourth against Thierry Neuville, who finished second in this division. Ogier also dropped to sixth, as did Craig Brin/Paul Nagley (Ford Puma Rally 1) and Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota JR Yaris Rally 1).
Tires were of great importance in this particular stage as the last in this department, and that’s how tire management felt the most. Joss Greensmith said he was riding just fine until the moment the tires ran out, Craig Brin had door issues, as did the Loeb and the heat and sweat of the rider starting to bother him to see him. Neuville said he saved the tires at Góis, but he shouldn’t have done too much. Finally, Rovanpera is happy that he only had 5.7secs ahead and the afternoon section wouldn’t be much of a problem at this level because they are the second lanes through the same three sections, except for Mortágua where he only passes once.
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In WRC2, after the third special, Suninen maintains the lead, 5.5 seconds ahead of Mikkelsen.
Arganil is one of the legendary qualifiers for the Vodafone Portugal Rally. It blows across the Serra do Açor mountains, among the trees, allowing no margin of error. It alternates with fast areas with tight and technical areas and with many difficult turns.
Car No. 69. Rovanpiru / Haltonen
“I didn’t expect much wear on the tires in the first few passes, but we did it with just four tyres. There shouldn’t be any issues for the rest of the rallies and I think we did a good job considering we’re opening the way.”
Car No. 11. Neuville / Vidig
The Neuville was 3.3 seconds faster than the Rovanperä. “In the previous stages I saved my tyres a lot. We should have done better but it’s difficult
Car No. 42. Brian / son
Lost over 10 seconds to Neuville, and keep complaining about cabin dust. I tried to close the doors as hard as I could. But the problem is that I also sweat a little and the dust is also starting to stick to my glasses.”
Car No. 19. Loeb/Galmici
The fastest to date, Neuville left in 2.8 seconds. “I tried to ride really hard and I think I had a very good qualifying. With what I can do in these conditions, I think it was a good ride.”
Car No. 8. Tunic / Gorfuja
He loses 10.8s to Loeb. “I don’t know if I lost just for the tyres. No problems, I can’t feel comfortable with the car. I will try to do what I can.”
Car No. 18. Katsuta / Johnston
“There are ups and downs between sections, I find the car a bit difficult to balance and in some sections I don’t have the speed. I have to improve my driving somehow, but it is also very hot inside the car.”
Car No. 44. Greensmith / Anderson
He loses 16.2 seconds to Loeb. “Now it seems to me that I had a good, clean stage without errors, so I am a little surprised by the timing. I lost a few tyres, but I have no answers.”
Car No. 1. Auger / Villas
He loses 8.6s from lob. He comes to the end with the front tires completely worn out. “To be honest, I’m pushing. I don’t know how to get faster at this point. We have to look at that with the team now.”
Car No. 33. Evans / Martin
Evans loses 10.6s to Loeb, and worse, the lead leads to the Frenchman. “It wasn’t perfect, to be honest. The grip is not very good and I’m not happy with it. Let’s see how the fight goes, we’re still at the beginning.”
Car No. 6. Sordon / Career
He loses 12.9s to Loeb.