SS11: Intense drama in the WRC! Kalle Rovanperä rolled his car and retired

Toyota's Kalle Rovanperä's brilliant pace on Saturday morning at the Rally de Portugal came to an abrupt end.
Kalle Rovanperä
Kalle Rovanperä. Photo by: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool
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Rovanperä went off the road on the second special stage of the morning in Montim. The car slipped in a high-speed corner to the left among the trees and ended up on its side against a tree. Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen were fine, but the rally ended from the lead position.

Drama quickly escalated when Oliver Solberg, leading the WRC2 class, went off the road in the next corner after Rovanperä’s spot.

The rally lead was taken by Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier, who set the fastest time on the Montim special stage. Ogier’s lead over Hyundai’s Ott Tänak is a narrow 3.4 seconds.

“On the first one it looks like we lost a lot of time. Kalle much more awake than us this morning, we have to keep fighting because all the gaps are super close. There were many difficult areas with lots of braking, tricky stage,” Ogier summarised.

“I try my best, I’m pretty sure it’s not the fastest but I look forward to doing it again,” Tänak commented.

In third place in the rally is Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, who is 15.7 seconds behind Ogier. Katsuta spun on the stage, as did teammate Elfyn Evans and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.

However, Neuville moved up to fourth in the rally, overtaking his teammate Dani Sordo.

“I misjudged the grip with the braking so I went a bit wide, and then on a hairpin I misjudged the grip again. Two mistakes in one stage is not good,” Neuville lamented.

In sixth place is M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux, ahead of Evans and Ford’s Grégoire Munster. Citroën’s Yohan Rossel took the lead in the WRC2 class. British driver Gus Greensmith is just 5.9 seconds behind the Frenchman.

Seven more special stages remain in the Rally de Portugal on Saturday. The event concludes on Sunday.

Rally de Portugal standings after SS11/22:

1.Sebastien OgierToyota1:36:24.1
2.Ott TänakHyundai +3.4
3.Takamoto KatsutaHyundai +15.7
4.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai +30.2
5.Dani SordoHyundai +32.9
6.Adrien FourmauxFord +45.8
7.Elfyn EvansToyota +2:06.7
8.Gregoire MunsterFord +3:01.8
9. Yohan RosselCitroen +4:24.9
10. Gus GreensmithSkoda +4:30.8
11.Nikolay GryazinCitroen +5:18.8

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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