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Rally de Portugal: Dramatic Shifts in the Saturday Morning Loop

11/05/2024

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The Saturday morning loop of the Vodafone Rally de Portugal brought dramatic shifts at the top, with Sébastien Ogier reclaiming the lead after a series of intense stages that reshaped the leaderboard.

The morning began with Kalle Rovanperä defending his lead aggressively, securing a stage win on SS10. However, a heavy roll on SS11 ended his bid for a third consecutive Portugal victory, drastically altering the dynamics at the top. This incident forced Rovanperä to retire, marking a significant turn of events for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

Takamoto Katsuta, who was closely following in the standings, also faced his own challenges. After showing strong pace, Katsuta encountered issues on SS12 that led to his retirement, further intensifying the battle for the podium.

Amidst the shake-up, Ott Tänak emerged briefly as the rally leader after a phenomenal run through SS12 Amarante. His lead was short-lived as Ogier, demonstrating resilience and skill, managed to fight back and end the morning atop the leaderboard. Tänak then experienced a slow puncture on SS13, which allowed Ogier to extend his lead heading into the afternoon loop.

Thierry Neuville capitalized on the opportunities presented by the tumultuous morning. Moving into third place, Neuville showcased his adaptability and continued to push hard, aiming to secure a strong finish for Hyundai.

The morning’s developments have set the stage for a thrilling conclusion to the rally. With the leaderboard now tightly packed and several top contenders out, the remaining stages are poised to be both unpredictable and highly competitive.

Stay tuned for more updates as the Rally de Portugal heads into a pivotal afternoon session, where strategy, skill, and a bit of luck will determine who climbs to the top of the podium.

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