SS2: Japanese driver sets fastest time, Kalle Rovanperä struggles

Kalle Rovanperä, who has won the last two editions of the Rally de Portugal, faced difficulties on the opening special stage on Friday morning.
Takamoto Katsuta
Takamoto Katsuta. Photo by: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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Rovanperä started from a favourable position but fell 5.7 seconds behind his teammate Takamoto Katsuta, who set the fastest time. Rovanperä is using hard compound tyres, which did not perform as expected in the morning conditions.

“I just felt the driving was okay, but having one hard tyre on the car is not easy. It’s damp and we’re suffering,” Rovanperä explained.

“I felt quite bad in the car, I didn’t expect it to be good. Need to change the style and the car, some surprises in the stage,” Katsuta remarked.

Despite starting from the first position, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville set the second-fastest time, just 1.2 seconds behind Katsuta. In the overall standings, Neuville continues to lead the event, with a 0.8-second advantage over Katsuta.

“The start was good, the endings is not so good. The beginning was ok, but I lost the grip and got a bit of understeer,” Neuville commented.

Hyundai’s Ott Tänak was third fastest on the Mortágua stage and holds the same position in the overall standings, trailing his teammate Neuville by 2.9 seconds.

“Really damp and no loose at all – this way is nice. I struggled to work with the car, I will try more. Not a good time,” Tänak said.

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier is in fourth place, 5.9 seconds behind the leader. Like Rovanperä, Ogier’s start was underwhelming, with a 6.3-second deficit to the fastest time.

“I was not really on it to be honest. Need to find more confidence. I think it’s me mainly, I didn’t find the confidence to push between the trees,” Ogier summarised.

Rovanperä is fifth overall, with a modest gap of 6.9 seconds to Neuville. Toyota’s Elfyn Evans is in sixth place, ahead of M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux.

There are seven more special stages to be driven on Friday in the Rally de Portugal. The event concludes on Sunday.

Standings after SS2 of the Rally de Portugal:

1.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai13:55.8
2.Takamoto KatsutaToyota +0.8
3.Ott TänakHyundai +2.9
3.Sebastien OgierToyota +5.7
5.Kalle RovanperäToyota +6.9
6.Elfyn EvansToyota +7.0
7.Adrien FourmauxFord +7.6
8.Dani SordoHyundai +14.9
9. Oliver SolbergSkoda +30.9
10. Gregoire MunsterFord +35.5

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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