SS16: Flat out Sebastiens neck and neck
Rally Portugal leader Sebastien Ogier overcame a near-stall on the start line of SS16 to defend his position from Sebastien Loeb once again. And after claiming he had more speed in reserve on the morning pass, the Citroen Junior team driver admitted he was pushing himself and his tyres to the limit on the repeat.
The swept Felizes stage was more abrasive than it had been earlier and this, combined with a higher ambient temperature, made tyre wear a crucial consideration. Loeb was the stage winner, finishing six-tenths ahead of Ogier, but felt he had worn his Pirellis more than his rival. Asked about his chances of catching Ogier, Loeb said: "I'm not giving up, but it's getting more and more difficult." Heading to the final gravel stage of the rally, Ogier's lead stands at 9.5sec.
Dani Sordo held on to third place and extended his advantage over Petter Solberg a little to 5.4sec. Mikko Hirvonen, meanwhile, edged closer to Petter and will start SS17 trailing by just two seconds.
SS17: Ogier leads with just the Super Special to go...
Having fought off Sebastien Loeb's challenge through the final gravel stage of Rally de Portugal, just 2km of tarmac stands between Sebastien Ogier and his maiden WRC victory.
Loeb was fastest through SS17 but was only 1.8sec quicker than his Junior team rival, giving Ogier a 7.7sec advantage for the head-to-head Algarve Super Special.
Dani Sordo holds the upper hand in the fight for the final podium place but Petter Solberg (+4.6sec) and Mikko Hirvonen (+8.4sec) are right behind and ready to pounce should he make a mistake.