Sébastien Ogier returned to the lead of Rally de Portugal after another action-packed morning on the third and penultimate day.
The Frenchman trailed Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak overnight in his Volkswagen Polo R. However, he relegated both with a stunning time in the 31.90km Santana da Serra, the middle of the morning’s three stages and the longest of the weekend.
He was 8.7sec quicker than Hirvonen and 12.9sec faster than Tänak to take a 2.4sec advantage over the Finn’s Ford Fiesta RS.
Tänak then crashed in the 22.15km Malhao, at exactly the same point that Jari-Matti Latvala barrel rolled almost 200 metres down the hillside in 2009. Tänak’s Fiesta RS came to rest blocking the road and Hirvonen was one of several drivers held up.
The test was neutralised for the following competitors, who received notional times. Hirvonen was awarded the same time as Ogier’s clean run and the gap between the duo remains at 2.4sec.
Mads Østberg climbs to third in a Citroen DS3, with Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top six. Mikkelsen climbed ahead of Henning Solberg this morning.
Robert Kubica hit more trouble when he slid off in Santana da Serra and burned out the clutch on his Fiesta RS as he tried to regain the road, while Kris Meeke failed to restart after his roll cage was damaged in last night’s roll.