Rally Portugal - 1st Day - 2nd Loop: Rovanpera takes the lead after Tanak's puncture, Evans off the road

At the end of Friday afternoon, Kalle Rovanpera is the new leader of Rally Portugal with Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville following him.

Kalle Rovanpera tops the overall classification at the end of Friday as he set the fastest time in 5 and 6 while he stole the lead from Dani Sordo after SS5.

Dani Sordo is in second place overall and was out in front after Ott Tanak's puncture in SS4. In fact, he held the lead for four tenths of a second over Rovanpera after the first stage of the afternoon loop, but he lost more ground in SS7 after his missing a junction and overshooting.

Thierry Neuville dropped two places after SS7, but he regained his third position at the end of SS8. Generally, he was struggling to find pace with his i20N in all stages today, but he ended his day in a positive way after being at the top three.

Pierre-Louis is fourth overall and moved ahead of Neuville after SS7 while M-Sport Ford mechanics managed to repair his Puma for the second loop of Friday during the tyre fitting zone. It must be mentioned that something was burning inside his car and the marshals gave to the crew fire extinguishers at the stop line of SS3.

Esapekka Lappi completes the top five and was the fastest driver in two stages (SS4 ad SS7). The most remarkable thing for the Finn was that he took the stage win in SS7 despite the fact that he had never ran throughout it in 2022 and he was lucky that he did not lose time in SS6 as he suffered from a slow right-rear puncture towards the end. Last but not least, he overtook Neuville on the overall classification after SS7 and their gap was at 0,8 seconds.

Ott Tanak dropped from first to sixth overall as he suffered from a front-right puncture in SS4 resulting in losing 54,1 seconds. In addition to that, he was careful on the remaining stages of the loop as he had no spare wheel. Despite the fact that he dropped behind the Welsh driver of Toyota after SS4, he managed to decrease his gap from the sixth Evans. 

Elfyn Evans went off the road 13.8 Km into SS7 and was not able to continue as his Yaris was heavily damaged and ended up deep on the forest. He had a rear-right tyre damage in SS6 and managed to remain in sixth position after that stage, but he lost his fifth place over Pierre-Louis Loubet on the afternoon as the last one had better road position.

Watch below the stage times:

Watch the overall classification after SS8:

Photo Credits: Toyota

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