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WRC Rally of Portugal: Ogier takes lead as Tanak hits trouble

Sebastien Ogier WRC Rally Portugal 2017

Sebastien Ogier was gifted the Rally of Portugal lead on the final stage of Saturday's morning loop as team-mate Ott Tanak picked up left-rear suspension damage.

Despite briefly closing to within a second of his M-Sport team-mate and overnight leader Tanak on the morning's first stage, Ogier had entered the loop-ending SS12 Amarante 6.3 seconds down on Tanak after the Estonian pumped in a stellar time on SS11.

Tanak had also been fastest through the opening two splits of SS12, but hit a bank before the third split and damaged his left-rear suspension.

He managed to drag his Ford Fiesta WRC to the finish but eventually dropped 1m23.1s to Ogier - who recorded the fastest time through the stage - and relinquished the lead, dropping to fifth in the overall classification.

Monte Carlo winner Ogier therefore carries a lead of 19.5s into the afternoon loop in his Fiesta, ahead of chasing Hyundai pair Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

Sordo had started the day in second but was overhauled by Ogier on the morning's first stage, with Neuville - who was awarded 11.6 seconds back to his time overnight - jumping ahead of his Spanish team-mate a stage later.

The pair both lost time to the leader throughout the morning, but were the closest runners to Ogier through the final stage of the loop.

Citroen driver Craig Breen was the other man to profit from Tanak's woes overall, the Irishman jumping up to fourth overall.

Breen was a content, if not wholly satisfied, fifth-fastest on SS12 and is 46.2s off the lead with half a minute in hand over the troubled Tanak.

Juho Hanninen is a quiet sixth in the leading Toyota Yaris, having jumped Elfyn Evans on SS11.

Evans had run fifth until that point, but picked up a puncture in his DMACK-shod Fiesta and later had to nurse a broken left-front damper through SS12 as a legacy of that problem.

Esapekka Lappi - who lost a minute earlier in the morning when he stalled his car and struggled to restart - and Mads Ostberg sit eighth and ninth, while Jari-Matti Latvala clawed his way back into the top 10 in the third Yaris at the expense of former Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.

Mikkelsen does however continue to lead WRC2 commandingly, with more than a minute in hand over Skoda team-mate Pontus Tidemand.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS12:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaM-Sport World Rally TeamFord2h26m29.2s
2Thierry Neuville, N.GilsoulHyundai MotorsportHyundai19.5s
3Dani Sordo, M.MartiHyundai MotorsportHyundai25.0s
4Craig Breen, S.MartinCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRTCitroen46.2s
5Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaM-Sport World Rally TeamFord1m16.8s
6Juho Hanninen, K.LindstromToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota1m39.5s
7Elfyn Evans, D.BarrittM-Sport World Rally TeamFord2m12.5s
8Esapekka Lappi, J.FermToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota2m41.2s
9Mads Ostberg, O.FloeneM-Sport World Rally TeamFord4m33.0s
10Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota5m20.0s


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