WRC First blood for Ott Tanak in Portuguese super special stage at Lousada
For immediate release
Thursday, May 17th, 2018
FIRST BLOOD FOR TÄNAK IN OPENING LOUSADA STAGE
LOUSADA (PORTUGAL): Estonia’s Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja moved into a slender lead of 0.4 seconds after the opening 3.36km super special stage of the 52nd Vodafone Rally of Portugal at the Lousada rallycross circuit on Thursday evening.
A massive crowd bathed in the evening sunshine and created a carnival-type atmosphere, as the spectacular action unfolded with three of Portugal’s leading national championship drivers going head-to-head with the top seeded WRC 2 drivers before the 14 World Rally Cars entered the fray.
The Toyota Yaris WRC crew carded the fastest time of 2min 34.3sec and that was four-tenths quicker than the tying M-Sport Ford Rally Team duo of Sébastien Ogier and Teemu Suninen.
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Kris Meeke and Andreas Mikkelsen of the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team were tied in fourth place, one second behind.
Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Jari-Matti Latvala stalled at the final hairpin, lost three and a half seconds and slipped to 13th place.
Portuguese Rally Championship front-runner Miguel Barbosa and Japanese WRC 2 driver Takamoto Katsuta kick-started the weekend’s action and the Asian driver beat his rival by one second. Pedro Mereiles then faced off with Citroën’s Stéphane Lefebvre and ceded 3.5 seconds to the Frenchman.
Three-time Rally of Portugal winner Armindo Araújo lined up alongside England’s Gus Greensmith before two-time Portuguese national champion José Pedro Fontes failed to tackle the stage after an engine issue arose at the ceremonial start.
Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand was left to tackle the special alone in advance of the World Rally Cars and moved to the top of the WRC 2 standings. Greensmith actually set the exact time as Lefebvre and they tied in second place in WRC 2.
The ceremonial start had got underway an hour earlier at the stunning location of Guimarães Castle.
Tomorrow (Friday), the route heads north towards the Spanish border for three stages, repeated twice, in the Viano do Castelo region before a return to the centre of Porto for two runs through a revised 1.85km street stage.
Gravel action on the Viano do Castelo (26.73km), Caminha (18.11km) and Ponte de Lima (27.54km) stages will be split by a lunchtime return to Exponor for a regroup and 34-minute service.
2018 Vodafone Rally of Portugal – positions after SS1 (unofficial):
1. Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Toyota Yaris WRC 2min 34.3sec
2. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 34.7sec
3. Teemu Suninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 34.7sec
4. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Anders Jaeger Synnevaag (NOR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 35.7sec
4. Kris Meeke (GBR)/Paul Nagle (IRL) Citroën C3 WRC 2min 35.7sec
6. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 35.8sec
7. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 35.9sec
7. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Carlos del Barrio (ESP) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 35.9sec
9. Mads Østberg (NOR)/Torstein Eriksen (NOR) Citroën C3 WRC 2min 36.0sec
10. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 2min 36.1sec
11. Hayden Paddon (NZL)/Sebastian Marshall (GBR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 36.7sec
12. Craig Breen (IRL)/Scott Martin (GBR) Citroën C3 WRC 2min 36.8sec
13. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 2min 38.2sec
For further media information:
Miguel Fonseca, National Rally Press Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Lluisa Torras, International Media Relations, email: email@example.com, Mobile: +34 629 924073.