LISBON (Reuters) - Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville is set to retake the lead from France’s Sebastian Ogier in the world rally championship on Sunday after building up a commanding advantage on the penultimate day of Rally Portugal.
The Belgian, who was last top of the standings in February, goes into the final day 39.8 seconds clear of M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans, with only five timed stages totaling 51km left to complete.
Ogier, who started the event with a 10-point lead in the championship, crashed his M-Sport Ford into trees on Friday afternoon.
Other leading drivers, including Estonian Ott Tanak, who won the previous round in Argentina for Toyota, have also been sidelined after hitting rocks on the rough dirt roads near the Spanish border.
Hyundai’s Spanish driver Dani Sordo ended Saturday’s leg in third place.
Neuville, who has won five stages so far, said: “We’ve had a very positive day and can be extremely satisfied with our position. That’s not to say we can relax because we have some tricky stages on Sunday.
“We will need to remain concentrated because there are still five stages to go, and we’ve seen just what can happen here.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Neville Dalton