Portugal WRC: Neuville takes points lead with win

Thierry Neuville has taken the championship lead in WRC after claiming his second win of the season in Portugal.

The Hyundai driver scored 29 points as he was second-fastest in the Power Stage and is now 19 points ahead of the non-scoring Sebastien Ogier, who crashed out on Friday.

Neuville started the day with a 39.8s lead over M-Sport driver Elfyn Evans, and had a trouble-free run to finish the event with a gap of 40 seconds.

Evans meanwhile had to turn his attention towards the charging Teemu Suninen, who inherited third before the start of the day after Dani Sordo was given a 10-second penalty for dislodging two bales in the SS8 street stage.

Despite starting Sunday 22.1s behind Evans, teammate Suninen topped one of the day's five stages and was only 8.4s adrift before the Power Stage.

While he couldn't challenge Evans for second, Suninen still celebrated his maiden podium finish in WRC.

Sordo couldn't recover from his penalty and was left to fight against Toyota's Esapekka Lappi for fourth.

The duo traded places three times in five stages, but it was Lappi, who topped the day-starting SS16 and the Power Stage and was second in two other tests, that ended up ahead.

Citroen duo Mads Ostberg and Craig Breen took sixth and seventh, three and five minutes adrift respectively.

Dominant WRC2 winner Pontus Tidemand was eighth overall followed by his main class rivals Lukasz Pieniazek and Stephane Lefebvre.

Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen were all running under Rally2 regulations, with Ogier and Latvala taking a stage win each.

Final results

Pos. Driver Car Time/Gap
1  Thierry Neuville Hyundai 3h49m46.6s
2  Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford 40.0s
3  Teemu Suninen M-Sport Ford 47.3s
4  Esapekka Lappi Toyota 54.7s
5  Dani Sordo Hyundai 1m00.9s
6  Mads Ostberg Citroen 3m33.5s
7  Craig Breen Citroen 5m23.0s
8  Pontus Tidemand Skoda 14m10.8s
9  Lukasz Pieniazek Skoda 16m17.3s
10  Stephane Lefebvre Citroen R5 16m34.3s
Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Portugal
Sub-event Day 3
Drivers Thierry Neuville
Teams Hyundai Motorsport
Article type Leg report