Ott Tänak finishes sixth in Portugal
Ott Tänak finished sixth in round four of the WRC 2022 season, at Rally de Portugal. The Estonian, who drives for Hyundai, finished fourth in the points test.
Tänak had been as high as second after Thursday's opening stage, but dropped down to 10th in day two.
Finn Kalle Rovanperä and Welshman Elfyn Evans were first and second, with Spaniard Dani Sordo the first Hyundai driver, in third place. Toyota driver Katsuta Takamoto (Japan) was fourth, while Tänak's teammate Thierry Neuville (Belgium) placed fifth.
Rally de Portugal is the fourth race of the season, the fourth after the introduction of new hybrid rules and the first to take place on gravel this season.
Before the race
After three races, in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Croatia, under the new hybrid rules which came into effect this season, Finn Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) is in the lead with 76 points, ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), who has 47 points. Irishman Craig Breen (M-Sport) is third.
Estonian Ott Tänak (Hyundai) is in joint fourth place with rally legend Sebastian Loeb, who won the opening race in Monte Carlo for M-Sport – the sole race he has competed in so far this season, though he is back for the Portuguese rally too.
Tänak's highest placing so far for 2022 is second, which he achieved at the last race, in Croatia.
Thursday, May 19
Welshman Elfyn Evans was fastes in the Toyota Yaris in Thursday morning's shake-down test run; Tänak finished third.
In the evening, the short, 2.8km Coimbra run took place before crowds in the northern Portuguese university town, where Tänak's teammate in the Hyundai i20, Thierry Neuville, won out over the Estonian. Another Hyundai driver, Spaniard Dani Sordo, was third after a minor error cost him time.
Friday, May 20
Eight full stages took place Friday, starting at a little after 10 a.m. Estonian time.
Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja lost time, mainly due to tire changes, as did their teammate at Hyundai, Thierry Neuville.
Tänak and Järveoja lay in 10th place, 3.37.5 behind the leader at the start of Saturday, Welshman Elfyn Evans (Toyota), and a minute-and-a-half behind 9th-placed driver Adrien Fourmaux (M-Sport Ford).
The first full day offered plenty of drama elsewhere too, with legendary drier Sebastien Loeb (Ford) crashing out and the other Sebastien, Ogier, eight-time WRC champion, also having problems.
Elfyn Evans starts day three in top place, 13.6 seconds ahead of teammate Kalle Rovanperä. Tänak's teammate Dani Sordo is third in the Hyundai i20.
Saturday, May 21
Saturday morning belonged to Toyota, with eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier back in the frame after coming to grief on Friday, along with Sebastien Loeb, another WRC legend, competing for Ford.
Due to the starting order, Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja effectively had to act as track clearers over long periods of time.
Welshman Elfyn Evans won two stages in the morning, but his teammate, Finn Kalle Rovanperä was ultimately dominant, taking the lead after the penultimate test of the day, with Evans and teammate Katsuta Takamoto in second and third place.
Tänak rose a place after Gus Greensmith (M-Sport Ford) had to pull out, finishing eighth, behind teammates Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville.
Sunday, May 22
The final standings of WRC Rally de Portugal are below.
The next race takes place in Sardinia starting June 2.
The race is the first of the season to be run on gravel; the drivers will attempt 21 stages to a total length of 338.34km.
Readers with Estonian can also follow events on the ERR Sport portal's live blog here.
This article was updated to include Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday's results.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte