Rally de Portugal - 2nd Day - 2nd Loop: Evans back on top after a dramatic afternoon

At the end of the afternoon loop of Friday, Elfyn Evans retook the lead of Rally de Portugal with Kalle Rovanpera and Dani Sordo following him.

Elfyn Evans climbed to first position overall after Sebastien Loeb's accident in Stage 5 and set the fastest time in Stage 6 and 9.

Kalle Rovanpera is second from fifth at the end of Stage 9 and was the fastest driver in Stage 7 and 8.

Dani Sordo completes the top three and took advantage of his rivals' problems as he was ninth at the end of the morning loop.

Takamoto Katsuta is in fourth position overall and lost time in Stage 6 as he had a half spin which was caused by the fact that he hooked a ditch and had to stop.

Gus Greensmith completes the top five and dropped time in Stage 7 as the rear left tyre was off the rim. He had another puncture in Stage 9 on the front right tyre and it is uncertain he is able to return safely to the Service Park.

Pierre-Louis Loubed dropped to sixth position after losing over a minute in Stage 8 as he slid wide and ran up a banking. It is noteworthy that he was the second fastest driver in Stage 5 and 6 resulting in being fourth overall until the start of SS8.

Thierry Neuville lost his second place at the end of SS8 and dropped to seventh as he lost a wheel on the road section between Stages 7 and 8 and had a damaged driveshaft as well, so he was not able to push to the limit on the penultimate stage of the day. For this reason, he dropped five places and was over a one-minute late in that stage in comparison with his rivals.

Craig Breen, Adrien Fourmaux and Ott Tanak complete the top ten. 

Breen's afternoon loop of Friday was not easy as he suffered from a front left puncture in Stage 6 and had no hybrid power during Stage 7. In addition to these problems, he did a mistake and dropped 53,8 seconds in Stage 8 as he slid off into a bank very close to the end of SS8.

Fourmaux also suffered from a front left puncture in Stage 5 and lost only 7,7seconds as he was fastest on the splits throughtout that stage. However, he was very cautions to the next ones as he had no spare wheel for the next four stages.

Tanak dropped to tenth from fourth position overall as he lost over one minute in Stage 6 as he stopped to change the front left puncture. However, a rear left puncture struck him again in Stage 7 resulting in dropping another one minute. The Estonian driver was one of the three drivers that had two spare wheels with him. Finally, he did not push enough as he did not want to have another puncture which would lead him to a retirement. At the end of Stage 9, he stated that he faced transmission issues as well on afternoon.

Sebastien Ogier was forced to retire as he faced two punctures and had only one spare wheel. The first puncture happened in Stage 6 where he stopped to change the tyre and dropped more than two minutes. Before the start of SS6, was third and he dropped eleventh after that incident. His retirement came in Stage 7 when he had to pull over his car with another puncture and was out of spare wheels. 

Sebastien Loeb retired in Stage 5 as he ran wide on the first corner of that stage and clouted a barrier with the rear right of his Puma resulting in damaging the suspension and the steering arm. He was leading Rally de Portugal after the end of Stage 4 for just 0,5 seconds ahead of Evans.

Watch below the stage times:

Watch the overall classification after SS9:

Photo Credits: Toyota

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