Ogier leader after Satarday as Rovanperä crashes out from WRC Rally Portugal

Ogier leader after Satarday as Rovanperä crashes out from WRC Rally Portugal

Sébastien Ogier leads Rally Portugal after Saturday. The Frenchman’s lead is 11.9 seconds over Ott Tänak heading into Sunday.

Ogier started the day 1 second behind Kalle Rovanperä and trailed the reigning champion by 5.7 seconds in today’s opening stage.

Rovanperä looked confident after extending his lead and a good road position in mind for the remainder of Saturday: “When the car and setup in better for me, it’s quite easier,” the Finn said after comfortably winning SS10.

Rovanperä crashes out of the lead

But disaster struck for Rovanperä in the following stage. He arrived too quick in a right-hander and went wide into the trees: game over. Rovanperä’s crash handed Ogier the rally lead with Tänak 3.4s behind him.

Tänak took the rally lead after winning the first pass of Amarante (37.24 km), but Ogier re-took the lead in the final stage of the morning loop as Tänak picked up a slow puncture, dropping 13.8 seconds in the process.

Takamoto Katsuta sat in third after Rovanperä’s off but hit trouble in Amarante. The Japanese driver clipped a bank and broke the rear-right suspension of his GR Yaris Rally1, ending the day early.

Tänak pushed hard to win the SS14 and SS15 after mid-day service, closing the overall gap to 7.8 seconds. Ogier answered in Amarante 2 by winning the stage going 4.1s faster than Tänak. The eight-time WRC champion won the following SS17 as well but dropped 1.6s to Tänak in the final stage of the day at Lousada. Ogier’s lead is 11.9 seconds heading into Sunday.

Thierry Neuville is third, just under a minute behind Tänak. The championship leader overtook his team-mate Dani Sordo in today’s opening stage and then moved up after the retirements of Rovanperä and Katsuta.

Sordo is P4 overnight, 14.2s behind his Belgian team-mate and 7.3 seconds ahead of Adrien Fourmaux. Elfyn Evans ends the day in P6, trailing Fourmaux by just under 2 minutes.

5 different leader in WRC2 during Saturday

Nikolay Gryazin is seventh overall, the leading Rally2 driver. The Citroën driver is not registered for WRC2 points this weekend, meaning that Jan Solans, who sits in P8 overall, leads the WRC2 category. Solans leads Josh McErlean by 8 seconds after Saturday. Yohan Rossel rounds off the top 10 and is third in WRC2, 3.6s shy of McErlean.

It was a dramatic day in WRC2 which started with Oliver Solberg crashing out of the lead in SS11. Solberg went wide two corners from the place where Rovanperä had gone off earlier. Solberg explained he was “distracted” after seeing Rovanperä off the road.

With Solberg out, Rossel inherited the WRC2 lead ahead of Gus Greensmith. However, Rossel dropped a minute and a half in SS13 after having to change a puncture in the stage, handing the lead to Greensmith at midday. A third lead change happened in SS14 as Greensmith went off and got stuck in a bank. Greensmith’s mistake handed the lead to McErlean, but a fourth lead change followed two stages later as Solans pushed hard to overtake McErlean and managed to do so to lead by 8 seconds overnight.

Grégoire Munster dropped out of the top 10 after facing engine issues with his Ford Puma Rally1.

Find everything you need to know (Itinerary, Maps, Rally Guides, Entry list) about the WRC Rally Portugal here.

62.18 competitive kilometres remain for the final day of Rally de Portugal, with all to play for in the WRC, WRC2 and of course Super Sunday. SS19, the opening stage of the day, gets underway at 07:05 local time (08:05 CEST). The Power Stage starts at 12:15 local time (13:15 CEST).

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WRC Rally Portugal 2024 – Standings after Saturday (SS18)

#DriversCarTime / Diff. to 1st
1.Ogier / LandaisToyota GR Yaris Rally13:01:55.8
2.Tänak / JärveojaHyundai i20 N Rally1+11.9
3.Neuville / WydaegheHyundai i20 N Rally1+1:11.4
4.Sordo / CarreraHyundai i20 N Rally1+1:25.6
5.Fourmaux / CoriaFord Puma Rally1+1:32.9
6.Evans / MartinToyota GR Yaris Rally1+3:23.8
7.Gryazin / AleksandrovCitroën C3 Rally2+9:25.5
8.Solans / SanjuanToyota GR Yaris Rally2+9:35.2
9.McErlean / FultonSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+9:43.2
10.Rossel / DunandCitroën C3 Rally2+9:46.8

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing