LISBON – Estonian Ott Tanak won on Thursday the first stage of the Rally of Portugal, the sixth event of the World Rally Championship, after finishing the 3.36-kilometer course in his Toyota Yaris in 2.34.3 minutes in the Portuguese town of Lousada.
He beat Finnish Teemu Suninen and current leader of the championship Sebastien Ogier from France, both of whom drive Ford Fiestas, while Ogier’s main rival, Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) finished sixth with 1.5 seconds behind.
Spanish Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20), fifth in the overall World Championship ranking, was eighth, with a second and six tenths behind the winner of the first stage.
The favorite to win the 2018 Rally of Portugal is Ogier, who also won this race in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Ogier currently leads in the overall ranking of the 2018 World Rally Championship after securing three wins from the first five races in Montecarlo, Mexico and Corsica, adding the total of 100 points to his scoreboard, 10 points ahead of his main rival, Neuville, who won the second race in Sweden.
Tanak, who won the latest race in Argentina, stands with 28 points on the scoreboard.
The Rally of Portugal consists of 20 special stages with a total distance of 358.19 kilometers over four days of action.
The next eight stages are scheduled to start on Friday at 9:15 local time in Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima and Caminha.