SS:6 Intense battle underway in the Rally Portugal, Rovanperä narrowly takes the lead

Toyota's Kalle Rovanperä has moved into the lead of the Rally de Portugal during the sixth special stage.
Kalle Rovanperä
Kalle Rovanperä. Photo by: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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Sebastien Ogier, Rovanperä’s teammate, set the fastest time on the second run of the Lousa special stage, with Rovanperä trailing by 1.1 seconds. Rovanperä took the lead of the rally by a margin of a tenth of a second ahead of Toyota’s Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta.

Toyota holds the top three positions in the rally. Following Rovanperä, Katsuta is in second place and Ogier, in third, is 3.1 seconds behind the leader.

“With all the conditions, maybe our car is a bit better setup-wise. Still not 100%, especially on the rough places I have a lot of understeer. We’ll do our best,” Rovanperä complained.

“The tyre is helping, but we made some little changes. I feel a bit better now, but we’ve had better days. I made a change to the setup to stiffen the car control. No risk, no fun,” Ogier added.

The margins in the Rally Portugal are extremely tight. Hyundai’s Ott Tänak is in fourth, ahead of teammate Thierry Neuville. The top five are within just 3.9 seconds of each other.

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo is sixth in the rally, 6.9 seconds off the lead. In seventh place is Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux, whose gap to the leading Rovanperä has stretched to 17.1 seconds.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans holds the eighth position ahead of Ford’s Gregoire Munster, who has been noticeably the slowest of the Rally1 cars.

In the WRC2 class, Skoda driver Oliver Solberg continues to lead, but his teammate Gus Greensmith has closed to within just four seconds. Citroen’s Yohan Rossel is third in the class, just over a second behind Greensmith.

Three more special stages will be run on Friday in the Rally de Portugal. The rally concludes on Sunday.

Rally de Portugal standings after SS6/22:

1.Kalle RovanperäToyota52:51.4
2.Takamoto KatsutaToyota +0.1
3.Sebastien OgierToyota +3.1
4.Ott TänakHyundai +3.2
5.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai +3.9
6.Dani SordoHyundai +6.9
7.Adrien FourmauxFord +17.1
8.Elfyn EvansToyota +24.0
9. Gregoire MunsterFord +1:37.2
10. Oliver SolbergSkoda +2:04.3
11.Gus GreensmithSkoda +2:08.3
12. Yohan Rossel Citroen +2:09.5

Rally de Portugal itinerary (CET):

Thursday, 9th May

09:01 Shakedown: Baltar (4.61 km)
20:05 SS1: Figueira da Foz (2.94 km)

Friday, 10th May

09:05 SS2: Mortágua 1 (18.15 km)
10:35 SS3: Lousã 1 (12.28 km)
11:35 SS4: Góis 1 (14.30 km)
12:35 SS5: Arganil 1 (18.72 km)
15:05 SS6: Lousã 2 (12.28 km)
16:05 SS7: Góis 2 (14.30 km)
17:05 SS8: Arganil 2 (18.72 km)
18:35 SS9: Mortágua 2 (18.15 km)

Saturday, 11th May

09:05 SS10: Felgueiras 1 (8.81 km)
10:05 SS11: Montim 1 (8.69 km)
11:10 SS12: Amarante 1 (37.24 km)
12:35 SS13: Paredes 1 (16.09 km)
15:35 SS14: Felgueiras 2 (8.81 km)
16:35 SS15: Montim 2 (8.69 km)
17:40 SS16: Amarante 2 (37.24 km)
19:05 SS17: Paredes 2 (16.09 km)
20:05 SS18: Lousada (3.36 km)

Sunday, 12th May

08:05 SS19: Cabeceiras de Basto 1 (19.91 km)
09:35 SS20: Fafe 1 (11.18 km)
10:32 SS21: Cabeceiras de Basto 2 (19.91 km)
13:15 SS22: Fafe 2 (11.18 km)

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