Elfyn Evans set the pace on shakedown for Rally of Portugal, edging the Hyundai of Esapekka Lappi by just a tenth of a second.
M-Sport’s Ott Tänak set the early pace on the first run through the Blatar test, but when the drivers took to the stage for their second attempt, it was Evans that jumped to the top of the timesheet, setting a time of 2m53.4s.
That pace bodes particularly well considering he is running first on the road on Friday, but Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi wasn’t far behind, with his effort falling short of Evans by just a mere 0.1s.
Lappi did however go for four runs, and his morning wasn’t without issue, with smoke making its way into the rear of his car during his first run.
Tänak did improve on his second run, but it wasn’t enough to match Evans as he ended shakedown third fastest, half a second off the pace. Dani Sordo was fourth, just a tenth behind.
Takamoto Katsuta’s effort of 2m54.3s was good enough to secure fifth, while Pierre-Louis Loubet’s best attempted landed him sixth.
Kalle Rovanperä could only manage seventh with a best effort that was 1.6s slower than Evans, while Thierry Neuville was the slowest Rally1 driver in eighth.
In WRC2, Oliver Solberg got his event off to a solid start topping the timesheet, while Kris Meeke was slightly too eager to get his running underway, jumping the start on his first attempt through the shakedown run.