Kalle Rovanpera gives an encore by also winning Special Stage 6 of the Rally of Portugal, the Arganil 2 of 18.72 kilometres. Thanks to this result, the reigning world champion was able to increase his advantage over the first of his pursuers in the general classification.
Be careful though, because Dani Sordo managed to seize the second time of the special, 2″1 slower than his rival for the win. This means that there are now 2″9 between the two in favor of the Toyota Racing driver.
A close duel, the one between Rovanpera and Sordo, which legitimately leads us to think that it could last for the rest of the day. There are still 2 special stages left at the end of the stage, of which the next one can be considered a real stage, while the last one will be a show.
The third time of Pierre-Louis Loubet was interesting, thanks to which he managed to keep in contact with Thierry Neuville – fourth in the special – in the fight for the lowest step of the podium. The Belgian has a 2″5 margin over the M-Sport rider and the SS7 could be the stage that will decide which of the two finishes in front in this stage.
At the end of the session, Esapekka Lappi complained of a slow puncture on the left rear tyre, although his time was still quite competitive. Ott Tanak, on the other hand, continues to manage his remaining tires after having beaded one in the first session of the afternoon lap.
Elfyn Evans continues to be the negative constant of this first stage. The Welshman continues to struggle in opening today’s practice, but it should be remembered that Rovanpera, who enters practice just after him, is leading the rally.
If the premier class of the WRC did not register any position changes, WRC2 was the scene of several problems related to the tires which greatly changed the overall standings. Adrien Fourmaux, M-Sport team rider, was forced to stop again due to a puncture. The same fate befell Teemu Suninen (Hyundai). Gus Greensmith managed to get to the end of the stage without replacing the damaged tyre, but he too had the same problems as the Frenchman and the Finn.
The incident made Oliver Solberg even more leader of the class standings. The Norwegian from the TokSport Monster team now has an 11″1 margin over the first of his rivals, Yohan Rossel in a Citroen C3 Rally2. Greensmith, despite the puncture, is still in the podium zone but 1 minute and 13 seconds behind Rossel.
Rally Portugal – WRC 2023 – Standings after SS6
Pos. Pilota/navigatore Vettura Tempo/distacco 1 Rovanpera/Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 1h07’57”4 2 Sordo/Carrera Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +2″9 3 Neuville/Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +17″7 4 Loubet/Gilsoul Ford Puma Rally1 +20″2 5 Lappi/Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +28″3 6 Evans/Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +46″6 7 Tanak/Jarveoja Ford Puma Rally1 +1’03″2 8 Solberg/Edmondson Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 +3’13″8 9 Rossel/Dunand Citroen C3 Rally2 +3’24″9 10 Greensmith/Andersson Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 +4’38″5