LISBON (Reuters) – Hyundai’s Ott Tanak led the Portuguese Rally after Friday’s first leg whereas Belgian workforce mate and title contender Thierry Neuville rolled out of competition.
Neuville, second within the championship behind Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier after three rounds, pushed the automotive upright after the stage seven accident earlier than retiring with a damaged suspension.
Estonian Tanak had a 6.0 second lead over Toyota’s Elfyn Evans on the finish of the day in central Portugal, with Hyundai’s Dani Sordo an extra three seconds behind.
Championship chief Ogier was fourth, 24 seconds off the lead.
Within the third tier WRC3, former Chelsea and Olympique de Marseille soccer supervisor Andre Villas-Boas made it to the top of the primary leg of his debut WRC rally in his Citroen C3. The 43-year-old was fifteenth of 24 within the class.
Sordo gained two of the opening three gravel levels to guide on the midpoint with new co-driver Borja Rozada however he then stalled within the day’s penultimate take a look at and Tanak, who had a puncture within the afternoon, went in entrance.
“It hasn’t been trouble-free by any means, so it’s constructive to be main the rally,” stated the Estonian.
“We did what we might to get the very best out of the automotive on these gravel roads, but it surely was a demanding day. Though we took some stage wins, I felt that there was nonetheless room for enchancment at occasions.”
Neuville stated he went right into a nook too quick and as he tried to appropriate it “there was one thing like a tree stump that pulled us onto our facet”.
“We tried our greatest to sort things on the highway part however sadly the suspension was broken, so it was sport over for the day.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, modifying by Pritha Sarkar)