WRC: Meeke in the lead after a fiery day in Portugal
Kris Meeke is in the lead after dramatic first day of Rally Portugal, the fifth round of the World Rally Championship. The Northern Irishman in the Citroen DS3 WRC will start on Saturday monring with 31.9 sec advantage ahead of Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier. Hyundai’s Dani Sordo is 5.4 sec behind Ogier.
The day was marked by crashes of Hayden Paddon and Ott Tanak on the same corner at Special stage 5 and dramatic fire which followed. Paddon’s car was completely destroyed while Tanak was able to save the car with a big help from spectators and extinguishing the fire with a water from a hose.
Videos: Fire destroyed Paddon’s car, spectators saved Tanak’s Fiesta
Meek won five of eight Friday’s special stages
Meeke dominated the event, winning two of the three stages in the morning loop to return to the mid-day service with an 11.5 second advantage over Sebastien Ogier. The stage 5 was stopped and neutralized because of accident before Meeke passed the stage, but he was later awarded with best time. He won also SS6 and SS7, so in total he won five of eight Friday’s stages.
Jari-Matti Latvala won one stage but later he suffered from technical problems and dropped down in the order, to finish the day in the 9th place with almost four minutes behind the leader. Thierry Neuville has won two short street stages in Porto and placed his Hyundai i20 WRC at fifth place at the end of the day. Between Neuville and his teammmate Sordo is Andreas Mikkelsen in the fourth place.