Thursday | 19 May 2016

Neuville heads Portugal shakedown

Thierry Neuville was fastest in Thursday morning’s shakedown at Vodafone Rally de Portugal as Hyundai claimed the top two times.

The Belgian was 0.3sec quicker than i20 World Rally Car team-mate Dani Sordo through the 4.61km Baltar test, with Ott Tänak completing the top three in a Ford Fiesta RS a tenth of a second further back.

Tänak, using DMACK’s new British-built tyres for the first time, was fastest through the opening two passes of the test on soft compound rubber. However, Neuville moved to the top of the timesheets on the third of his four runs.

“It’s a good start to the weekend but it’s what happens on the rally itself that really matters,” said Neuville. “It was nice to have a good feeling with the car. We tested ahead of the rally and have some new differential settings which make me feel more comfortable.”

Kris Meeke, returning to WRC action for the first time since February’s Rally Sweden, was fourth in Citroën’s DS 3 with Volkswagen Polo R duo Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen tied in fifth, just two-tenths behind the Briton.

None of the leading World Rally Car drivers suffered major problems but in WRC 2 season debutant Scott Pedder rolled his new Skoda Fabia R5.

The top 10 times were:  

1.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i203min 11.3sec
2.Dani SordoHyundai i203min 11.6sec
3.Ott TänakFord Fiesta RS3min 11.7sec
4.Kris MeekeDS 33min 11.9sec
5=Jari-Matti LatvalaVolkswagen Polo R3min 12.1sec
5=Andreas MikkelsenVolkswagen Polo R3min 12.1sec
7.Hayden PaddonHyundai i203min 12.2sec
8.Sébastien OgierVolkswagen Polo R3min 12.4sec
9.Stéphane LefebvreDS 3 3min 12.7sec
10.Kevin AbbringHyundai i203min 13.6sec