M-Sport’s Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC continues to lead at Rally de Portugal, but it’s all change at the top with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia taking over the reins.
The four-time World Championships hold a 16.8 second advantage over championship rivals Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul going into tomorrow’s final 42.93 kilometres.
A brush with the scenery for both Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans may have dropped them down the order, but the Fiesta’s proven strength and performance ensures that all three crews remain inside the overall top-six.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Sébastien has had a fantastic day. He and Julien have delivered a faultless drive and it’s great to see them challenging for another victory with the Fiesta – hopefully we can make it stick tomorrow.
“It was disappointing to lose Ott from the battle, but he was lucky to get away with what he did and he had a good fight back this afternoon to get up to fourth. If we can maintain those results we’ll be very happy tomorrow afternoon.
“We’ll certainly be keeping our fingers crossed, but there’s still a lot of pressure. Anything can happen and you just have to look at how many different leaders we’ve had to see just how close it is out there.
“It’s been an incredible rally and let’s hope that we deliver a great end to it for M-Sport.”
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia lead the way at Rally de Portugal after delivering a faultless drive behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC.
Never out of the top-two on individual stage times, the Frenchmen posted the fastest time through three of the day’s six stages to establish a 16.8 seconds advantage at the head of the standings.
With just four stages remaining, Ogier and Ingrassia are now tantalisingly close to securing a fifth Rally de Portugal victory – and their first in the north.
SS11: 2nd (+5.2)
SS13: 2nd (+1.0)
SS15: 2nd (+6.2)
Sébastien Ogier (1st) said:
“I’m very happy with how my day went. It’s been a very long time since I‘ve been able to do this kind of performance – having always been first or second into the stages. I think I did the same kind of driving as yesterday but the road position is quite different and I’m very pleased with the gap that we have managed to build.
“For sure the rally is not over yet and we still need to finish the job. With 16 seconds you can never relax completely so we need to continue in the same way – keeping the same speed and staying clear of trouble.
“We have some beautiful stages still to drive tomorrow and I really love Fafe – it’s fantastic. For sure we still have to push because no one is going to back off. We still need to give it all we have and the Power Stage is always important for those extra points.
“I’m really looking forward to this last day and hoping to bring home another good result for the team and the championship.”
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:15:24.6
2. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai 120 Coupe WRC) +16.8
3. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai 120 Coupe WRC) +51.3
4. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:29.6
5. Craig Breen / Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +1:32.4
6. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:01.8
7. Juho Hänninen / Kaj Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:29.8
8. Mads Østberg / Ola Fløene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +5:16.6
9. Jari-Matti Latvala / Mikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +5:32.7
10. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Skoda Fabia R5) +7:06.6
eom/M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta press release