Ogier and Loeb both out of Portugal again

Evans has lead pared back while team-mate Ogier ends up down a ditch


Sébastien Ogier had retired from Rally Portugal on Friday, running out of spare tires. He was back on Saturday.

That comeback lasted only two stages, as the reigning world champion ran wide on a fast right kink and clipped a bank, which sent his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 pirouetting down a ditch on the other side of the road and into some trees.

While Ogier and co-driver Benjamin Veillas were fine, their car was beached on the edge of the road and wouldn’t budge, bringing their Portugal adventure to an end for the second time in as many days.

His car was eventually extracted from the ditch but it required a red flag to do so, with the stage waved off after WRC2 leader Teemu Suninen had passed through.


Current championship leader Kalle Rovanperä had a far better run on Cabeceiras de Basto than his esteemed team-mate, clocking the fastest time by 4.7 to cut the lead gap to Elfyn Evans down to 10.2s.

That result will have been somewhat surprising for Rovanperä, given he felt his team-mate had a tire advantage.

“Rear tires quite bad as we have used ones,” he explained. I think Elfyn has better tires and it’s easier for him. I was sliding a lot and not easy to be clean.

A few minutes later, Evans arrived and was down. The reason for his time loss was simple: he hadn’t attacked hard enough.


“It was a clean and tidy run but not pushing enough unfortunately,” was Evans’ conclusion.

A top-three lockout for Toyota is starting to look increasingly likely, as Takamoto Katsuta turned the screw on Dani Sordo.

Hyundai’s leading crew looked set to edge a few tenths out of Katsuta early in the stage but had copped 2.4s by the finish – and Sordo seemed to have no answer for Katsuta’s pace.

“I try to do my maximum but I don’t have a lot of traction with the car,” he said. “I’m disappointed we are not in the pace but Taka looks like he’s fast.”

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Indeed Katsuta was, picking up another third-fastest stage time after doing the same on Vieira do Minho earlier on Saturday morning. But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Toyota junior driver – he’d had a few moments and felt the need to back off on Cabeceiras de Basto.

“I expected much better grip but it’s so slippy. Maybe twice I had a moment. I didn’t push too much but I still had two moments, so after that I decided to back off,” he said.

Those slippery conditions caught out M-Sport pairing Adrien Fourmaux and Pierre-Louis Loubet.

Fourmaux was lucky to avoid going down a ditch when he slid wide at hairpin left, instead drifting into an access road and stalling, only losing a few seconds. In Loubet’s case, he rotated his Ford Puma through a very long left and had to three-point-turn his way back to the road, dropping a bit over 10 seconds.

Ogier wasn’t the only world champion in trouble either. Sébastien Loeb’s Puma ground to a halt early on the stage, with the purple machine down to “100 horsepower”. A full reset didn’t fix the issue, leaving Loeb to crawl to the finish line in road mode.

Loeb’s attempts to remedy his stricken Puma were in vain, retiring on the road section before Amarante.

SS11 Results

  1. Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) 13m26.8s
  2. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +4.7s
  3. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +10.2s
  4. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) +12.3s
  5. Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai) +12.6s
  6. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +16.4s
  7. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +28.8s
  8. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (M-Sport Ford) +30.2s
  9. Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +34.2s
  10. Pierre-Louis Loubet/Landais (M-Sport Ford) +43.4s

Leading Positions after SS11

  1. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) 1h52m52.7s
  2. Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +10.2s
  3. Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai) +1m04.8s
  4. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +1m06.5s
  5. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) +2m05.5s
  6. Pierre-Louis Loubet/Landais (M-Sport Ford) +2m26.9s
  7. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +2m34.00s
  8. Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +2m40.7s
  9. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (M-Sport Ford) +2m49.4s
  10. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +4m01.8s