WRC - Rally Portugal: Victory for Ott Tänak, Ogier holds championship lead
The Estonian Ott Tänak (Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT) has won the 53rd Rally de Portugal, the seventh round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. It’s his second consecutive win after he triumphed three weeks ago in Chile, the third win this season and the ninth WRC victory in his career.
However, three wins are still not enough to take the championship lead because Sebastien Ogier (Citroen Total WRT), who finished third in Portugal, took the maximum five points by winning the Power Stage and he’s now two points (142:140) ahead of Tanak in the Drivers’ championship standings. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT) finished second both in the Power Stage and in the overall classification of the rally. In the championship, Neuville is ten points behind Tanak.
While celebrating Tanak’s victory, Toyota regrets because of the disappointing results of the other two drivers. Kris Meeke entered the last stage in the third place, having a pretty secure podium position with a 34.7sec gap ahead of Ogier. But, Meeke crashed in the opening part of the Fafe stage and destroy all that he achieved earlier. Jari-Matti Latvala was in the second place, just 14.8sec behind Tanak, when his Toyota Yaris broke down at SS12 on Saturday afternoon.
The other big victims of difficult conditions were Hyundai’s Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb, who both suffered from technical issues on SS3 and lost plenty of time. They both finished the rally, Loeb in the 20th place and Sordo in the 24th place. Esapekka Lappi (Citroen) crashed on SS17 on Sunday morning.
Behind the leading trio, the other points scorers in the overall classification are Teemu Suninen and Elfyn Evans (both M-Sport Ford), Kalle Rovanpera (Škoda Motorsport), Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota), Jan Kopecky (Škoda Motorsport), Pierre-Louis Loubet (Škoda Fabia R5) and Emil Bergkvist (Ford Fiesta R5). Rovanpera took the victory in the WRC2 Pro class, what’s his second win this year.
The World Rally Championship will be continued with Rally Italia Sardegna on June 13-16.
Photos: Toyota Gazoo Racing, Louis Paixao, Sophie Graillon, Škoda Motorsport,