250th WRC stage win for Tänak as lead goes above 20 seconds

Hyundai's rally leader was in imperious form, with Rovanperä only other WRC runner within a second on SS13


Ott Tänak claimed the 250th stage win of his World Rally Championship career, nudging his lead advantage over Elfyn Evans past the 20-second mark in the process.

Kalle Rovanperä proved to be Tänak’s closest challenger on the Cabeceiras de Basto stage – outpacing all of his Toyota team-mates for the first time in Portugal – as he got within two seconds of Tänak’s benchmark.

Nobody could match the imperious Tänak though, as he beat Rovanperä by 1.9s and Evans by 3.8s to open up a 22.4s gap at the head of the field.


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Evans was 0.9s faster than Sordo on the stage to create an 11.3s buffer between himself and third place.

Sébastien Ogier struggled to escape from the clutches of Takamoto Katsuta in fourth place; the Japanese driver outpacing the seven-time champion by 6.8s to close to just 0.4s behind overall.

Ogier went 7.7s quicker on the previous test to assume the position from Katsuta, but the Toyota junior’s response was exactly what the seven-time champion did not need as he could do with saving some tires for Sunday’s powerstage.


Takamoto Katsuta

Photo: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Katsuta was however impressive on SS13, posting the third-fastest time that was just 2.8s shy of the best effort.

Gus Greensmith’s afternoon took a turn for the worse as his M-Sport Fiesta WRC developed a throttle issue, intermittently cutting the power and making it hard for Greensmith to find or maintain any kind of rhythm.

Swearing through his intercom to Chris Patterson and raising his hand in frustration, the damage was clear to see in Greensmith’s body language and on the timesheets as he hemorrhaged 26.6s to his team-mate Adrien Fourmaux and 49s to the stage winner.

Greensmith’s advantage over eighth-placed Fourmaux stands at 1m15.8s, but any designs he had on Rovanperä’s sixth place look to be well and truly extinguished as he gave up 47.1s to the Toyota to now lie over a minute behind overall.

Esapekka Lappi

Photo: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Esapekka Lappi outpaced WRC2 rival Teemu Suninen by 2.3s to bolster his class lead at 16.2s; the pair holding ninth and 10th overall due to the retirements of both Pierre-Louis Loubet and Thierry Neuville earlier in the weekend.

Oliver Solberg had been matching Lappi and Suninen on the previous stages but backed off on SS13 as he tried to avoid some big rocks; co-driver Aaran Johnston describing the conditions as “like Dakar” on the intercom as the two chatted after crossing the flying finish.

Their Hyundai i20 R5 was 8.3s slower than Lappi’s Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, but the honor of fastest time went to the other Polo of Nikolay Gryazin who bested Lappi by an impressive 7.6s.

SS13 times

1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) 13m36.4s
2 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +1.9s
3 Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Toyota) +2.8s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +3.8s
5 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai) +4.7s
6 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota) +9.6s

Leading positions after SS13

1 Tänak/Järveoja 2h39m15.9s
2 Evans/Martin +22.4s
3 Sordo/Rozada +33.7s
4 Ogier/Ingrassia +1m18.9s
5 Katsuta/Barritt +1m19.3s
6 Rovanperä/Halttunen +1m51.9s
7 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (M-Sport Ford) +3m01.8s
8 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (M-Sport Ford) +4m17.6s
9 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Volkswagen) +7m43.3s
10 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (M-Sport Ford) +7m59.5s

Words:Luke Barry

Photography:Hyundai Motorsport, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Red Bull Content Pool