WRC 2 in Portugal:
Tidemand takes comfortable win
Pontus Tidemand took his third WRC 2 win of 2018 as he cruised to victory on the final day at Vodafone Rally de Portugal.
Starting the final leg with 1m 19.4sec in hand over fellow Fabia R5 driver Lukasz Pieniazek, the Swede took two stage wins on Sunday to finish more than two minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
Pieniazek settled for second on the final day, deciding to manage his advantage over third-placed Stéphane Lefebvre rather than needlessly chasing the commanding Tidemand.
Lefebvre pushed hard to try and catch his Polish rival and was quickest during the first run through the Fafe test on Sunday. But the Frenchman ran out of stages to complete his attack and finished 17.0sec behind in his Citroën C3 R5.
“It didn’t look so good on Friday, but we went out and pushed as hard as we could. We went into Saturday with good speed, no problems, and won all the stages,” Tidemand explained.
“The conditions were quite hard on the tyres, many people had punctures and many drivers also made a mistake and hit something – it was not an easy rally.”
Pierre-Louis Loubet finished just off the podium in fourth after a clean run through the final five stages in his Hyundai i20 R5. He was helped when his closest challenger, Hiroki Arai, was handed a 60sec penalty for checking into a time control six minutes late.
The Japanese Toyota development driver still completed the rally in fifth place in Ford Fiesta R5, albeit only 9.5sec ahead of Juuso Nordgren who went second fastest in the Live TV Power Stage.
Gus Greensmith was eighth, just behind Benito Guerra. The Briton had led earlier in the weekend but retired before the Amarante 2 test on Saturday with steering arm failure. He rejoined on the final day and salvaged some pride by taking a pair of stage wins in his Fiesta.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Vodafone Rally de Portugal, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
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