Finland’s Jari Ketomaa holds a slender 4.7sec advantage in WRC 2 after day 2 of Rally de Portugal following a tight battle with Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Ketomaa grabbed the lead on the final stage, despite being held up by the limping Yuriy Protasov, after Al-Attiyah had kept his nose in front throughout the day, in spite of early concerns over low oil pressure.
Al-Attiyah, making his debut in WRC 2, built a lead of 7.4sec in a Ford Fiesta RRC over Ketomaa’s Fiesta R5 after the penultimate stage. But Ketomaa overturned that to snatch top spot.
Reigning JWRC champion Pontus Tidemand and Rally Sweden WRC 2 winner Karl Kruuda battled over third place. Tidemand held the initiative before Kruuda moved ahead, only for Tidemand to move back in front and finish the day 7.6 in front in a Fiesta R5.
Portuguese driver Bernardo Sousa delighted his home fans by holding fifth, despite intercom problems this morning, with Fredrik Ahlin rounding off the top six.
Championship leader Protasov hit a rock and broke his Fiesta R5’s right rear suspension in the penultimate stage. He nursed the car through both that and the final stage, losing nine minutes. He is 17th.
Nicolas Fuchs had a disastrous start when the gearbox in his Fiesta R5 broke within the opening kilometre of last night’s Lisbon street stage. He restarted under Rally 2 rules today and lies 18th.