Elfin Evans confirmed his authority in the lead in the Rally of Portugal, beating Calais Ravanpera by 8.6 seconds in the longest stage of the competition, Amarante.

At 23.13 miles Amarante presented the best rally opportunity for one of Toyota’s leading duos to make a break for victory.

Ravanpera feared that riding a pair of used tires from Friday would return to haunt him on Saturday morning’s cycle, and so it turned out.

The same doubt he expressed at the previous test, Cabeceiras de Basto, but passed as soon as possible. Evans admitted he didn’t push hard enough.

This mistake will not be repeated on Amaranth – the victory on the stage increased his advantage to 18.4 seconds.

«[It’s] so it is impossible to know whether you are doing well or not. You have to trust your rhythm until a certain point, ”Evans said. The first smile on his face at the end of the stage after a tough cycle of stages was a sign that this time he had coped.

Toyota is already looking at the 1-2 finish under lock and key, and its leading pair is running away. But after spending the morning at the advantage of Dani Sorda, Takamoto Katsuta finally climbed to last place on the podium at Amarante and became the top three in Yaris.

An alternative tire strategy did the trick for Katsuta by attaching a set of arms to the front and leaving the soft ones on the back, while Sorda again struggled for traction even though he had soft tires.

Katsuta scored 5.2 seconds on Sorda in the longest stage of the rally and finished third. Despite losing his position on the podium, Sorda did not express disappointment, instead decided to praise the efforts of the junior Toyota driver.

“It simply came to our notice then. He is doing amazing stages. I am happy for him, he deserves it, ”Sorda said.

Any hopes of Pierre-Louis Lube to catch Thierry Neville in fifth place seem to have vanished, as the “wrong choice of tires” left him “without traction”.

Neville, who performed a series of crossed hard and soft on the Amarante, scored 22.4 seconds over the leading Ford Puma to increase his lead over Lube to 43.8 seconds.

For M-Sport there was even more grief when Adrien Furmo stopped to change the puncture behind the left, going down three minutes and falling behind Otto Tenac on the 10th.

This caused a tossing effect for Craig Brin, who started Amarante four minutes behind his teammate. As Fourmaux spent half the stage, running just a minute ahead, Bryn struggled to examine the suspended dust and threw Lube for 2.6 seconds.

Gus Greensmith was ready to take advantage, starting Amarante just 6.7 seconds behind Brin. But stuck on hard tires, he also complained of insufficient traction, scoring on Bryn just 0.3 seconds at the end of what he called a “bit of a disaster”.

Despite the fact that Sebastian Auger came down from the shore and got stuck on the Cabeceiras de Basta, Sebastian Auger somehow went to work before noon.

The reigning world champion Toyota was able to avoid the previous stage without exceeding the maximum time, so went to Amarante, although suffered a small fire in the right rear corner of his GR Yaris during starting start.

Ogier then stopped a few meters away to miss the rest of the Rally1 cars without raising dust, and drove slowly across the stage.


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