Ogier seals record-breaking sixth WRC Rally Portugal win

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier has taken a record-breaking sixth WRC Rally Portugal win, securing his victory 7.9s clear of Hyundai’s charging Ott Tanak. 

The 40-year-old Frenchman (above) breaks a tie with WRC legend Markku Alen, who won Rally Portugal — a founding round of the FIA World Rally Championship back in 1973 — five times between 1975 and 1987 with Fiat and Lancia.

Five different drivers led the grueling fixture, which ran over the dusty, rutted and often rock-strewn gravel roads near the northern Portuguese cities of Porto and Matosinhos.

Eight-time WRC champ Ogier, making only his third start of a part-time 2024 campaign, seized the top spot on a tumultuous Saturday – a day when fellow Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 drivers Kalle Rovanpera rolled out of the lead and Takamoto Katsuta retired with shattered rear suspension.


Ogier headed the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 of Tanak by 11.9s heading into Sunday’s four-stage final leg and stayed cool and calm to keep the Estonian former champ at bay and complete back-to-back WRC victories following his win in Croatia last month. 

Sebastien Ogier, with co-driver Vincent Landais, celebrated a record-breaking sixth WRC Rally Portugal win. Sophie Graillon photo

“I had nothing against being tied with Markku Alen,” Ogier smiled. “He is a legend, but I heard for many years, ‘When will you beat this record?’

“It was a not a great weekend for the whole Toyota team [with Rovanpera and Takamoto’s DNFs], but it was a good rally for us and I am glad we could bring some points.”

Second place marked Tanak’s best result since rejoining Hyundai from M-Sport Ford for 2024. The additional seven points he earned for topping the Super Sunday classification helped move him ahead of Adrien Fourmaux to third in the WRC drivers’ championship standings.

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak chased Sebastien Ogier until the end, securing his best finish of 2024 with second. Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Championship wise, it was also a strong weekend for Thierry Neuville, who filled the final podium spot 1m1.9s behind his Hyundai teammate. The Belgian extended his drivers’ title lead to 24 points over Toyota’s Elfyn Evans after the Welshman endured a torrid weekend in Portugal, finishing down in sixth having overcome a coolant leakage through the final day.

M-Sport Ford’s Fourmaux climbed from fifth to fourth on the final leaderboard, passing the overly cautious Hyundai of Dani Sordo on Sunday’s first stage and pulling more than a minute clear of the Spaniard, who was making his first WRC start of the season, by the end. In a breakout season, Fourmaux has finished all five WRC rounds so far this year, finishing in the top five in all but one.

Evans’ coolant leak forced him to crawl out of the day’s penultimate stage in EV mode in his hybrid GR Yaris, adding more woe to what had already been a challenging event for him. On Friday’s opening leg, his co-driver Scott Martin resorted to reading pace notes from a cell phone after misplacing his actual notebook, and the duo failed to post a single top-three stage time.

It’s been a rally to forget for Toyota’s Elfyn Evans, who lost ground to Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville in the WRC title chase. Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT photo

In WRC2, the second tier of international rallying, Jan Solans found an edge over rival Josh McErlean on Sunday’s final leg to claim his first victory in the class.

The Spaniard, co-driven by Rodrigo Sanjuan, led WRC2 by 8.0s at the start of the final leg, but came under pressure as the charging McErlean won the opening two stages to take a 0.1s lead.

But Solans trounced McErlean by 6.5s in the penultimate stage at Cabeceiras de Basto, a feat which ultimately proved decisive in securing him the win. Despite Irishman McErlean’s best efforts, the Skoda Fabia driver could only reduce the gap to 3.2s in the Fafe finale.

As well as being Solans’ first win at this level, it was also the first for Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally2 car, which was launched earlier this year.

Jan Solans secured his first WRC2 class victory, and the first for Toyota’s new GR Yaris Rally2. Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

The WRC crews face more hot weather and rough gravel roads as the series moves to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia later this month. Alghero-based Rally Italy Sardinia takes place May 30-June 2.    

WRC Rally Portugal, final positions after Leg Three, SS22
1 Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) 41m32.3s
2 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +7.9s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +1m09.8s
4 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1) +1m47.8s
5 Dani Sordo/Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +2m48.9s
6 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +6m36.0s
7 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Citroen C3 – WRC2, non-points) +11m48.4s
8 Jan Solans/Rodrigo Sanjuan (Toyota GR Yaris – WRC2 leader) +11m56.1s
9 Josh McErlean/James Fulton (Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2) +13m32.9s
10 Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi (Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2) +13m40.3s

WRC Drivers’ Championship after 5 rounds
Neuville 110 points 
2 Evans 86
3 Tanak 79
4 Fourmaux 71
5 Ogier 70

WRC Manufacturers’ Championship after 5 rounds
Hyundai Motorsport 219 points   
Toyota Gazoo Racing 215 
3 M-Sport Ford 116    

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Story originally appeared on Racer