Elfyn Evans fastest on Shakedown stage in Portugal

11 maio 2023

MATOSINHOS (PORTUGAL): Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin set the fastest time of 2min 53.4sec on their third and final pass through the 4.61km Shakedown stage for this weekend’s 56th Vodafone Rally of Portugal.


The Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid crew finished the session just one-tenth of a second clear of the second-placed Hyundai pairing of Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm. Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja were third in the first of the two M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Pumas. A mere 1.8 seconds separated the eight Rally1 entrants.


The traditional 4.61km Shakedown stage was again based at Paredes. Joint WRC leader Evans got proceedings underway with a first pass of 2min 57.3sec on a familiar stage that passed through rural terrain and across forest tracks before finishing at the former Baltar rally cross circuit.


The Welshman said: "We know the story on these dry gravel rallies, but it's like that. We have to make the most of Friday, but it won’t be an easy day - probably the roughest day of the rally."


Tänak was the quickest of the eight Rally1 drivers after the first pass with a run of 2min 55.8sec on a stage where Lappi finished the test with smoke coming from his Hyundai.


Neuville was second on the cleaning stage surface. The Belgian said: "After losing the lead in Croatia with a mistake, I definitely want to fight for victory this weekend and bring it home. It's going to be a challenging event - we need to stay out of trouble and benefit from our better road position tomorrow."


Andreas Mikkelsen was the quickest of the first group of WRC2 runners but Gus Greensmith nudged a banking and took the rear-right tyre off the rim and Adrien Fourmaux narrowly avoided a big rock in the middle of the track. Fabrizio Zaldivar was not so fortunate and broke the front-left wheel of his Hyundai on the rock.


Tänak stormed to the top of the timings with a second pass of 2min 53.9sec and Oliver Solberg displaced Mikkelsen in WRC2 with a run of 3min 00.3sec, a time that stood at the top of the WRC2 rankings at noon.


Dani Sordo moved up to second behind Tänak after his third pass and then Evans overhauled the leading Estonian with his second run of 2min 53.4sec. Lappi then moved into second place on his fourth run.


Thursday evening


The rally now heads to the city of Coimbra for the ceremonial start this evening.


From 19.00hrs, leading drivers and the top Portuguese crews will participate in an autograph-signing session next to the iconic Porta Férrea at Coimbra University. From 20.10hrs, in the Joanina Library that dates back to 1717, there will be an official photograph of the WRC teams in advance of the ceremonial start at 20.30hrs. A tribute is also planned to the late Craig Breen.


2023 Vodafone Rally of Portugal – Shakedown times (Rally1 @ 12.00hrs): 

1. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid                 2min 53.4sec              

2. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid                  2min 53.5sec

3. Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid                         2min 53.9sec

4. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Candido Carrera (ESP) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid               2min 54.0sec              

5. Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid   2min 54.3sec              

6. Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid          2min 54.6sec     

7. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid     2min 55.0sec

8. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid      2min 55.2sec




For further media information:
Filipe Santos, National Rally Press Officer, email: [email protected], Marco Barbosa, email: [email protected] and Lluisa Torras, Media Relations Officer, email: [email protected], Mobile: +34 629 924073.

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