TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team remains at the top of the Rally de Portugal leaderboard heading into the final day, with Ott Tänak 4.3 seconds ahead of team-mate Kris Meeke at the end of a long and tough second leg.
The longest day of the rally featured 160.7 competitive kilometres, split across two loops of three stages. During the morning, the team continued its stranglehold on the top three positions with a strong performance. In third overall on Friday night, Meeke was fastest on the opening stage to increase his advantage over the chasing pack, before second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala won the following two stages. Tänak remained the leader, overcoming damage to his car’s braking system that he was able to repair on the road section between stages.
The stages proved to be much rougher for the second pass in the afternoon. Latvala’s car sustained a suspension issue and he had to stop prior to the final stage of the loop, but should be able to restart tomorrow from 11th overall. Tänak also suffered a suspension problem near the end of the afternoon’s closing test but continues to lead ahead of team-mate Meeke, who was second-fastest on all three of the afternoon stages to hold off those behind him.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“This was an incredibly difficult day and a very eventful one. But the team is still in a strong place, in first and second positions overall going into the last day. I’m very sorry for Jari-Matti, because he had such a strong morning, he was so fast and I know he was really looking for a good result. Ott had a similar problem: Luckily, it was very close to the end of the day and it wasn’t so serious. We need to investigate very carefully what happened in both cases, and do whatever is necessary before Sardinia to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. But we will continue to fight tomorrow: The gaps are small but our drivers have a good feeling and I know they’re looking forward to pushing hard until the end.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“I had a really good morning. I went for two hard tyres and they were working really well, and I was able to push hard. I was really happy with the speed. The car was feeling really good and I was in a good rhythm and enjoying it. Then in the first stage in the afternoon, I had a strange feeling at the front and knew that something wasn’t right. We tried to make a fix in order to continue but the road was so rough and it finally broke. It’s frustrating because I thought we had the chance to get back on the podium. At least the speed is there: That keeps me motivated, and I know we will keep fighting. Tomorrow we will try to take some points from this rally.”
END OF DAY TWO (SATURDAY):
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h47m23.1s
2 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4.3s
3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +9.2s
4 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +21.0s
5 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +1m37.5s
6 Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m02.7s
7 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6m10.4s
8 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) +8m33.8s
9 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) +9m35.3s
10 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Skoda Fabia R5) +10m04.8s
11 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +10m52.5s
The final day of the rally takes place in the Fafe region with five stages in all. That includes two passes of the famous Fafe test itself, the second as the rally-ending Power Stage.
Key stage: Fafe (SS17 & SS20, 11.18 kilometres)
Miikka Anttila (Co-driver car 10): “Fafe is one of the iconic stages of Rally de Portugal. The surface is nice, because there is not so much risk of a puncture. There are two jumps, and the final one is a very famous one. There you really have to brake and reduce the speed, because if you go flat-out you will go flying! It’s an extremely nice Power Stage and a proper way to finish this rally.”
Press Release TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT