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Friday, May 24, 2024

Ogier responds to Tanak problem to steer into remaining day

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The eight-time world champion claimed 4 of the day’s 9 levels, together with two of the afternoon checks, to fend off a charging Tanak.

Ogier headed to service with a 11.9s lead over Tanak having began the day one second behind Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanpera, who rolled out of the lead on the morning’s stage 11. Tanak’s sturdy run was rewarded by 15 provisional championship factors – three fewer than Ogier underneath the brand new system.

Championship chief Thierry Neuville held on to 3rd [+1m11.4s] for Hyundai to choose up 13 useful championship factors, forward of team-mate Dani Sordo [+1m25.6s] who collected 10 factors.

M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux loved a powerful run to place himself firmly within the struggle for fourth [+1m32.9s] and picked up eight factors, whereas title contender Elfyn Evans ended the day a distant sixth [+3m23.8s], pocketing six factors.

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta retired from third on Saturday morning with broken suspension. A mechanical problem pushed M-Sport’s Gregoire Munster exterior of the highest 10.

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Tanak began Saturday afternoon on the entrance foot because the head-to-head with Ogier developed into an intense struggle for the rally lead.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Crew Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

The second move by way of the now rutted Felgueiras, 8.81km take a look at appeared to go well with Tanak because the Hyundai driver claimed a second stage win, following his stage 12 success. Tanak, who described the highway circumstances as “actually good”, managed to take 3.2s out of Ogier’s result in scale back the 13.6s deficit to 10.4s. Ogier hinted that he was not at his most.

Neuville got here the closest to beating his team-mate Tanak on the take a look at after falling 2.4s shy. The Belgian, now driving a repaired i20N after incurring entrance finish injury within the morning, moved 4.2s away from the third Hyundai of Sordo within the battle for third.

There was nevertheless drama within the struggle for the WRC2 because the lead modified fingers as soon as once more. Class chief Gus Greensmith drifted offline at a sluggish proper hander, leading to his Skoda turning into beached within the sandy financial institution. The incident handed the category result in Eire’s Josh McErlean.

Stage 15, Montim, witnessed Tanak step up his pursuit of Ogier by posting one other stage-winning time, though the Estonian felt effort wasn’t something “particular”. Tanak clawed 2.6s again from Ogier from a dedicated run by way of the take a look at that caught out Rovanpera and Oliver Solberg within the morning.

Ogier admitted that his GR Yaris wasn’t working “tremendous effectively” within the stage and declared that Stage 16 would supply a chance to assault.

M-Sport’s Fourmaux, sitting in a cushty fifth general, ran Tanak shut on the prime of the timing display, reaching the stage finish 2.1s slower. The Frenchman was a tenth quicker than Neuville, who in flip was 1.6s quicker than Sordo. The latter hinted that he had been advised by the group to carry his place.

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Crew Ford Puma Rally1

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Ogier delivered on his stage 16 [Amarante, 37.24km] promise in what proved to be scorching and punishing for tender tyres. A risk of rain resulted in all Rally1 crews, besides Evans, taking two laborious and 4 tender compound tyres.

Ogier’s resolution to avoid wasting his rubber within the earlier levels paid dividends, leading to an ideal response to Tanak. Ogier reached the stage finish 4.1s quicker than his rival, who reported a throttle problem.

The hole within the struggle for third general between Neuville and Sordo was lowered to 1.5s after the latter eclipsed the previous by 4.3s.

“It’s far too scorching for these tyres. We had been anticipating rain. I used to be punishing these tyres all the way in which to the tip of the final stage. It’s not good,” stated Neuville.

Ogier continued his push setting a quickest stage time on stage 17 [Paredes, 16.09km] to increase his rally lead out to 13.5s, only a tenth shy of the margin he held firstly of the afternoon.

Tanak dropped 1.6s within the take a look at after reaching the stage finish fourth quickest behind Neuville and Fourmaux.

It proved to be a troublesome run for Sordo who couldn’t match the tempo of his Hyundai team-mates. The Spaniard described his effort as “very dangerous” having conceded 11.6s that put him solely 9s forward of Fourmaux, who had a sniff a fourth general.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Tanak had one final chunk into Ogier’s lead after edging the Frenchman by 1.6s of their side-by-side battle within the Stage 18 Lousada tremendous particular, held in entrance of a vociferous crowd that had gathered on the rallycross venue.

Neuville managed to beat Sordo of their head-to-head battle by 1.1s, whereas the stage was gained by Fourmaux, who closed to inside 7.3s of Sordo within the struggle for fourth general.

In WRC2, Jan Solans snatched the category lead from McErlean with the pair cut up by 8s.

The rally concludes on Sunday after 4 levels, comprising of 62.18 kilometres.

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