Ott Tänak lamented his car again – “Nothing has changed”

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville was in fierce form at the Rally de Portual on Friday morning, even though he was the first car on the route.
Ott Tänak
Ott Tänak. Photo by: Dufour Fabien/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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After five special stages, Neuville is in second place, just 2.9 seconds behind the rally leader, Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta. Neuville benefited from a moist track on the morning’s opening stage, and road sweeping was not an issue. On the last special stage of the loop, Neuville set the fastest time.

The Belgian driver was the only one to start the special stage with four soft tyres, even though the weather was already hot.

“I was hesitating a lot before the last stage. I had those two hards on the previous stage and the car was moving a lot with the soft tires. I was hesitating but I followed the plan. I stick to the plan, and the plan worked,” Neuville summarised.

According to Neuville, conserving tyres was also crucial for the attack on the morning’s final stage.

“So far everything was working quite well. Luckily the first stage kept a lot of humidity, so I would say there was basically no disadvantage. It was possible for us to set a good time. It got more difficult on the three last stages but I think we kept good tires for the last stage especially,” Neuville said.

“We saw last year Kalle first on the road, doing a good time in there. I knew that if I would have good tires for that last stage and push hard, I could do a good time.”

Neuville’s teammate, Ott Tänak, started from a better position on the route, but the Estonian has been struggling with the driveability of his car. Tänak is fourth in the rally, 4.1 seconds from the lead.

“I have not enjoyed to be honest. Not easy to get used to the car. I have to to drive very differently to my liking. It was really tough job. I’m trying hard, but all together, it’s difficult to put the good stage together,” Tänak stated.

“It was the same in pre event test. So nothing has changed. I think it’s just something I need to try to get used to and compensate as much as I can. I try to be more efficient.”

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