Rally de Portugal: Day 2
Evans takes over the lead in the Toyota Yaris WRC
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Elfyn Evans leads the Rally de Portugal into the final day after his consistent performance was rewarded when a rival hit difficulty in the weekend’s longest stage. Team-mate Sébastien Ogier meanwhile has moved up into a podium position with five stages remaining.
Saturday was the longest day of the rally with 165.16 competitive kilometres spread out across seven stages, with the action concentrated on the Cabreira mountains to the north-east of Porto.
After moving up into second overall on Friday afternoon, Evans had a solid and consistent start to Saturday with a trio of second-fastest times in the morning loop. After he won the opening stage of the afternoon, he then set another fastest time in the second pass of Amarante: the longest stage of the rally at 37.92 kilometres. When the leader was forced to stop in the same stage, Evans took over at the top of the leaderboard, and after a short street stage in Porto, he ended the day with a 10.7s lead over second place.
Fighting back after the disadvantage of running first on the road on the loose gravel stages on Friday, Ogier has climbed up to third place overall. He is 1.5s ahead of TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta after the pair swapped places throughout the day, the Japanese driver further demonstrating his progress against his more experienced colleague.
Kalle Rovanperä had been running in sixth place overall prior to SS14, which he could not start because of technical reasons. He was able to drive back to service where the team will prepare his car for a restart tomorrow.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“Naturally we are pleased to be leading the rally tonight. For most of today, there wasn’t much we could do in the fight for the lead, but as we know ourselves, in rallying you have to get to the finish before you can lift the trophy. Elfyn has been driving a very good rally and I think he deserves some luck. He is in a very good position now but of course we have to see the finish line tomorrow and nothing is guaranteed. For the championship it’s great to also have Seb up into the podium places now, and it’s been exciting to see Takamoto battling with him today. Unfortunately we had a technical problem on Kalle’s car on the road section and we decided that he should not risk doing more damage in a 37-kilometre stage. Instead he brought the car back to service and we hope he can try to fight for Power Stage points tomorrow.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“It has been a difficult day for us today, but at least we have been able to climb up the order a little bit. This is the positive thing: that we are back in a podium position. That is mostly because we stayed out of trouble, but this is also part of the game. For sure, I cannot be very satisifed with my day as I did not have the pace I wanted. This was partly down to road position because we suffered again with a lot of cleaning effect, but I could also have been better with my tyre choices at some points. Still, I have some new tyres left for tomorrow and we have to use those as best as we can.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It feels pretty good to be leading the rally tonight. Overall, the day went pretty well for us. I struggled to find my rhythm a little bit at the start of the morning loop, but after that I was relatively happy. The conditions have been pretty tough out there but we seemed to get through it quite well. It’s obviously a shame for Ott and what happened to him, but now we find ourselves in quite a strong position. It’s still close so it’s all to play for tomorrow and it’s going to be a tricky day. But I’m looking forward to those stages and we will definitely give it our best shot”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“The morning loop was again quite difficult today, but once more on the afternoon loop when the grip was higher I was really enjoying the car again: Everything was working normally and the stage times were again good. So I think there is some work to do for me to find the feeling with the car in the more slippery conditions we find on the first loop. Unfortunately, we had a technical issue before the third stage of the afternoon and we had to retire for the day, but we think we can be back out tomorrow. It’s going to be tricky in the Power Stage because of our road position, but of course we’ll try to get as many points as possible.”
End of day one (Saturday):
1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h07m09.1s
2 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +10.7s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m04.2s
4 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m05.7s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m21.8s
6 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m28.2s
7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +8m21.2s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +9m01.6s
9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m46.6s
10 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +11m01.1s
TBC Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC)
(Results as of 21:30 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
A total of five stages complete the rally on Sunday. The day starts with the returning Felguieras test, followed by the Montim stage and the famous Fafe. A repeat of Felguieras precedes the rally-ending Fafe Power Stage.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
Follow TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT:
∇Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TOYOTAGAZOORacingWRC
∇Twitter : https://www.twitter.com/TGR_WRC (@TGR_WRC)
∇Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/tgr_wrc/ (@TGR_WRC)
∇YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCtALHup92q5xIFb7n9UXVg