SS8: Incredible battle in the Rally de Portugal! Kalle Rovanperä just edges out fastest time

The battle for the lead in the Rally Portugal is heating up ahead of Friday's final special stage.
Kalle Rovanperä
Kalle Rovanperä. Photo by: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
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A fierce contest for tenths of a second unfolded again on the Arganil special stage. Eventually, Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä topped the stage by a narrow margin of 0.1 seconds over Hyundai’s Ott Tänak.

Rovanperä continues to lead the rally, but he has only a one-second lead over his teammate Takamoto Katsuta. The Japanese driver was 0.8 seconds slower than Rovanperä’s fastest time in Arganil.

“I can’t be any faster with this car. It’s not easy,” Rovanperä stated.

“I try my best, but I can’t push any harder because otherwise I would make small mistakes,” Rovanperä continued.

Tänak has moved up to third overall, ahead of Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier. Ogier complained at the stage finish that his car’s hybrid unit stopped working halfway through the special stage.

Tänak, now in third place, is only 3.7 seconds behind Rovanperä, and Ogier is 4.2 seconds back.

“I tried so hard, it’s not nice. I need to try hard, but altogether, it’s not working,” Tänak lamented.

Also in the fight for the lead are Hyundai drivers Dani Sordo (+8.5) and Thierry Neuville (+12.9), who has been the road sweeper on Friday’s special stages.

There’s a lot at stake on Friday’s final stage, as the starting positions for Saturday’s special stages will be determined by the overall standings. The rally leader will get the best starting position for the second proper day of driving.

One more special stage will be run on Friday in the Rally de Portugal. The competition concludes on Sunday.

Rally de Portugal standings after SS8/22:

1.Kalle RovanperäToyota1:13:33.0
2.Takamoto KatsutaToyota +1.0
3.Ott TänakHyundai +3.7
4.Sebastien OgierToyota +4.2
5.Dani SordoHyundai +8.5
6.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai +12.9
7.Adrien FourmauxFord +25.1
8.Elfyn EvansToyota +1:28.8
9. Gregoire MunsterFord +2:09.0
10. Oliver SolbergSkoda +3:14.0
11.Gus GreensmithSkoda +3:14.1
12. Yohan RosselCitroen +3:16.0

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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