Sordo returns with a bang in Portugal, leading Hyundai 1-2-3 in shakedown

Sordo returns with a bang in Portugal, leading Hyundai 1-2-3 in shakedown

Festus Chuma 15:12 - 09.05.2024

Dani Sordo leads Hyundai 1-2-3 in Rally de Portugal shakedown, returning strong after six-month break despite fierce competition.

Dani Sordo made a triumphant return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) stage Thursday morning by setting the fastest pace during the Vodafone Rally de Portugal shakedown.

Despite being away from competition for nearly six months the Spanish driver wasted no time finding his rhythm steering his Hyundai i20 N to the front of the leaderboard.

His second run through the 4.61 km Baltar stage clocked a time that put him just ahead of his Hyundai teammates Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville, besting them by 0.5 and 0.9 seconds respectively. 

This impressive performance came in Sordo's 190th WRC rally and his first appearance since the FORUM8 Rally Japan last November.

Sordo was excited to be back in Portugal, a rally he considers special for both drivers and spectators alike.

 "I’m really excited to be back in the car, especially in Portugal,” he shared. 

“The ultimate goal in my mind is to win, but I am hoping to claim as many points as possible from the weekend for the team.”

Meanwhile, reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä showed promise in his Toyota GR Yaris before a hybrid issue forced him back to the Matosinhos service park early. He still managed to secure eighth place despite the setback.

Sébastien Ogier of Toyota delivered a strong fourth-place finish, trailing Tänak by a mere tenth of a second. The Frenchman aims to make up for his disappointment after going off the road during the 2022 Portuguese rally.

 "Portugal has always been challenging for me, and after last year’s result, I'm determined to prove myself and secure a podium finish this weekend," he said.

M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux rounded out the top five, just 0.1 seconds behind Ogier. Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta and Elfyn Evans claimed sixth and seventh, with a delayed Rovanperä following in eighth. 

Grégoire Munster captured ninth while WRC2 star Gus Greensmith closed out the top ten.

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