WRC - Ogier retakes lead from Hirvonen

Sebastien Ogier reclaimed the lead in the Rally of Portugal from Mikko Hirvonen as Ott Tanak hit trouble on Saturday morning.

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Sebastien Ogier (Imago)

World Rally Championship leader Ogier put Volkwsagen back at the top of the leaderboard after setting the pace on two of the three stages on the day's opening loop.

Having shaded Hirvonen by just a couple of tenths of the day's first stage, Ogier blitzed his rivals on SS9 to overturn the 6.3-second deficit to the Finn, but his exact advantage is unclear after the M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver was delayed by an off for Tanak.

The Estonian had been running a comfortable third after another strong morning's work, but he stopped 9km into the loop's final stage and blocked the road.

That delayed Hirvonen, as well as the few WRC2 frontrunners, though organisers are expected to award the Finn some kind of substitute time for the stage.

Hirvonen had been just 0.4s slower than Ogier after the two splits prior to the stoppage.

Mads Ostberg inherited third place after Tanak's troubles, the Norwegian having previously been little more than an occasional interloper in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

Behind, Hyundai's encouraging rally continued. After Dani Sordo gave the i20 WRC its first stage win yesterday the Spaniard and team-mate Thierry Neuville moved into fourth and fifth respectively.

Andreas Mikkelsen has assumed sixth after a quiet trio of stages. His VW team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, returning under Rally 2 regulations after his roll yesterday, made it a clean sweep of morning stages for the Polo WRC with the fastest time on SS10.

Another driver to hit trouble yesterday, Robert Kubica, endured more misfortune. The Pole stopped on SS9 after sliding off the road and failed to resume after breaking the clutch on his M-Sport Fiesta as he attempted to recover it from a ditch.

Results to follow...

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