Tänak and Toyota win in Portugal
Neuville and Ogier are on the podium
SS16-18: Tänak stretches lead, Lappi retires following early morning roll
Ott Tänak withstood sustained pressure from behind to increase his lead at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on Sunday morning.
The Estonian emerged from the opening three speed tests of the final leg with an 8.1sec advantage over Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Kris Meeke. Thierry Neuville was hot on their heels and 10.0sec further adrift.
Meeke was fastest out of the blocks to win the opening Montim test from Tänak and Neuville and reduce his overnight deficit to the Estonian to just 2.4sec.
Tänak retaliated with fastest time ahead of Meeke in Fafe and Luilhas to extend his advantage with just the repeated Montim and Fafe stages remaining.
Esapekka Lappi retired from fifth after a catalogue of dramas. The Finn dropped 30sec in Montim when he clipped a bank and tipped his Citroën C3 onto its roof.
Despite lacking part of the rear wing, his pace in Fafe was good until he hit a bank and broke the rear left suspension, driveshaft and brake disc. Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm tried to make repairs after the finish but their efforts proved in vain.
His demise promoted Teemu Suninen into fifth behind FIA World Rally Championship leader Sébastien Ogier, while M-Sport Ford team-mate Elfyn Evans completed the top six.
Tänak wins a second rally this year, in Portugal
The Estonian led Vodafone Rally de Portugal from Friday morning to back up last month’s victory in Chile by 15.9sec in his Toyota Yaris.
Thierry Neuville finished second in a Hyundai i20 after Kris Meeke spun his Yaris in the penultimate speed test to drop behind the Belgian, and then crashed in the final stage and retired. Third eventually went to Ogier, a further 41.2sec behind
Ogier won the live TV Wolf Power Stage to claim five bonus points. Neuville scored four in second with Tänak claiming three points in third. Teemu Suninen, driving a Ford Fiesta, and Dani Sordo, in another i20, took two and one point respectively.