With his alternator woes behind him after the disappointing retirement on Friday morning, Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta was given ‘road-sweeping’ duties at the head of the 77-car field for the start of day two and 148.68 competitive kilometres in a route of 667.88km. Action got underway with a first pass through Vieira do Minho (26.61km) to the east of Porto – a test that was first used on this event 31 years ago.
A low early morning sun made visibility difficult in places for the first crews and Katsuta carded the target time of 17min 22.2sec on the sandy and slippery surface. Thierry Neuville was on a morning mission, despite lacking confidence with the grip and the loose handling of the rear of his Hyundai, and the Belgian was 3.3 seconds quicker than Ott Tänak to strengthen his grip on third with Pierre-Louis Loubet dropping time behind. But Esapekka Lappi had other ideas and the Finn ran faster and regained third overall from the Belgian.
A flying Kalle Rovanperä utilised his favourable road position to set the quickest time and extend his overall lead over Dani Sordo to 24.1 seconds. He beat stage runner-up Lappi by 12.8 seconds on the stage.
Oliver Solberg survived a spin and the time loss enabled Gus Greensmith to close to within 40.8 seconds of the WRC2 lead. Yohan Rossel was 21 seconds slower than the Briton and slipped over half a minute behind in the fight for third.
Four-minute intervals for the Rally1 crews.
Car 11. NEUVILLE/WYDAEGHE
“Not very good to be honest. I don’t trust the grip and the rear of the car. I am very often full lock and
Losing time and no traction. It’s a different surface to yesterday. We carry on.”
Car 69. ROVANPERÄ/HALTTUNEN
“I just woke up today and thought we should drive a bit of rally. So that is what we do….”
Car 8. TÄNAK/JÄRVEOJA
“It’s slippy and quite tricky to drive. The balance is so off and the surface is very different today. We struggle a bit at the moment. Let’s see what we can learn today.”
Car 33. EVANS/MARTIN
Did not restart after the substantial damage sustained by his Yaris in the high-speed crash on Friday afternoon.
Car 6. SORDO/CARRERA
“I didn’t drive very well here. It is very slippery. I did not get the feeling.”
Car 4. LAPPI/FERM
“It felt horrible. I said to Janne I have no grip. Better this way, for sure. It felt like I was going to lose 20 seconds.”
Car 18. KATSUTA/JOHNSTON
“I didn’t drive so much yesterday so it is nice to be in the car now. Thanks to the team. Everything seems to be fine now. It was super slippery and very sandy.”
Car 7. LOUBET/LANDAIS
“I didn’t touch anything.” (rear wing damage)
Car 20. GREENSMITH/ANDERSSON
“To be honest it was a bad stage. I couldn’t really find the grip and the balance. I tried to keep it clean and tidy.”
Car 21. SOLBERG/EDMONDSON
Survived a small spin in the stage. “I had a spin and lost about 10 seconds or something. It was a bit loose outside the line. It’s okay.”
Car 24. MIKKELSEN/ERIKSEN
“We just have to climb the leader board as much as we can today. We have to forget about yesterday and refocus and see what we can do.”
Car 26. ROSSEL/DUNAND
“I don’t know if I have a problem. It is completely strange. The car….all.”