SS18: Sebastien Ogier closes in on major points

Sebastien Ogier finished Saturday on top in the Rally de Portugal, securing a strong position to claim significant points.
Sebastien Ogier
Sebastien Ogier. Photo by: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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Under the current scoring rules, provisional points are awarded at the end of Saturday. Drivers can claim these points as long as they complete the rally on Sunday.

Toyota driver Ogier ended Saturday 11.9 seconds ahead of Hyundai’s Ott Tänak. If Ogier avoids issues on the final day, he’ll collect 18 points based on Saturday’s results.

On Saturday’s closing stage in Lousada, Tänak managed to claw back 1.6 seconds on Ogier.

“It’s been a good day, but a tricky one. We didn’t expect so many things happening today. On Toyota’s side it was not the perfect day. We have to try and finish the job tomorrow,” said Ogier.

“We had a better rhythm in the afternoon, though we had some difficulties on the long (Amarante) stage. Overall, today was better than yesterday. We did our best,” Tänak added.

Among the WRC drivers securing provisional points are Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Adrien Fourmaux, and Elfyn Evans. Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä crashed out from the lead on Saturday, while his teammate Takamoto Katsuta also didn’t finish.

Championship leader Neuville is set for a defensive win in Portugal. He wasn’t expected to perform well due to his road-sweeping role, but he managed Friday commendably and ended Saturday in third place.

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo holds fourth place, followed by M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux. Elfyn Evans, second in the championship, has struggled with pace throughout the rally, resulting in fewer provisional points than Neuville.

Sunday will offer even more points. The top seven on the final day will score on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system. The Power Stage will also reward the top five with extra points (5-4-3-2-1), meaning a maximum of 12 points can be won on Sunday. Rovanperä and Katsuta will also be fighting for points.

The WRC2 class also saw its share of drama on Saturday. By day’s end, Spain’s Jan Solans led the pack, followed by Joshua McErlean and Yohan Rossel.

The Rally de Portugal concludes on Sunday, with four stages remaining.

Rally de Portugal standings after SS18/22:

1.Sebastien OgierToyota3:01:55.8
2.Ott TänakHyundai+11.9
3.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai+1:11.4
4.Dani SordoHyundai+1:25.6
5.Adrien FourmauxFord+1:32.9
6.Elfyn EvansToyota+3:23.8
7.Nikolai GrjazinCitroen+9:25.5
8.Jan SolansToyota+9:35.2
9. Joshua McErleanSkoda+9:43.2
10. Yohan RosselCitroen+9:46.8

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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