The author of a very disappointing start to the season (17 points in three rallies), Elvin Evans gave himself some confidence ahead of the start of Rally Portugal, in the super special, Thursday night. The Welshman from Toyota set the fastest time over 4.55 km of moving away at 2’56”1 on his third time on the track. He was four-tenths ahead of Craig Breen (Ford) and Ott Tanak (Hyundai) by seven.
Sebastien Ogier and Sebastien Loeb performed slower in their first rally since Monte Carlo as they finished second and winner respectively. Ogier dropped to seventh, 1″ 3 behind his teammate Evans. In particular, he struggled with radio problems during his first visit. Loeb, with his Ford Puma, is 10th (+2″4). Kali Rovanpera (Toyota), the championship leader, ranked eighth for the fastest time (+1.4).
Two more French firsts at WRC (with Ford Puma Rally1 from M-Sport). Pierre-Louis Loubet was the best French player, finishing fifth (+1”1 over Evans) while Adrien Formeau, under pressure after three retirements in the most rallies this season, was attending the back of the 12 World Rally Championships entered (+ 5′ 8).
The Coimbra test, on Thursday evening, will only count 2.82km before the “real” start of the rally on Friday when eight special stages will be contested. On this day, Loeb and especially Ogier will have an excellent starting position for this first gravel race of the season.
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