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Tense Battles and Strategic Mastery in #WRCRallyPortugal

11/05/2024

As the sun set on the penultimate day of the Vodafone Rally de Portugal, the drama continued to unfold in the grueling gravel tracks of Porto. The Saturday evening loop saw Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tänak deliver remarkable performances, with Ogier maintaining a narrow lead over Tänak going into the final day.

Ott Tänak started the evening with a strong display, reflecting on improved rhythm and better handling of the challenging ruts. His performance showed a marked improvement from the previous day, underscoring Hyundai’s efforts to close the gap with the leading Toyotas. Tänak commented on the day’s success, noting, “In the afternoon we probably had better rhythm, especially in the ruts. Quite a solid day compared to yesterday.”

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Sébastien Ogier, not to be outdone, fought hard in the Lousada super special stage, finishing the day ahead despite the close chase from Tänak. The rivalry between the two was palpable, with both drivers pushing their cars to the limit. Ogier reflected on a tricky day, saying, “It’s been a good day, a tricky one. We didn’t expect so many things happening today, on Toyota’s side it was not the perfect day. We have to try and finish the job tomorrow now.”

Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo also remained in contention, with Neuville expressing satisfaction with his third-place position, “If somebody would’ve told us on Thursday that we would be third on Saturday evening, I wouldn’t have believed it. It feels great to be honest, after a difficult day. Was really enjoyable here so many people around. That’s what we like to see.”

In the WRC2 category, the competition heated up with Nil Solans maintaining his lead, highlighting a “perfect day” and the intent to keep pushing through the final stages. The crowd’s energy at the super special stage was electric, adding to the excitement of the rally’s closing moments.

Adrien Fourmaux and other competitors also embraced the unique atmosphere, with Fourmaux noting, “It’s really good to finish the day in a super special like that, with the atmosphere, the crowd – it’s so unique.”

As Rally de Portugal moves into its final day, the stakes are high, and the battles across the leaderboard promise a thrilling conclusion to this storied event. Stay tuned as the world’s best rally drivers look to make their final mark in the challenging Portuguese terrain.

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