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Mads Ostberg and Neuville share Portugal lead

Ostberg and Neuville share Portugal lead
By AutoSport

18/05/2017 at 21:47Updated 18/05/2017 at 23:58

Ford privateer Mads Ostberg and Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville share the overnight Rally of Portugal lead after the opening superspecial.

The pair set identical 2m36.6s times around the Lousada rallycross venue that was used to kick off round six of the 2017 World Rally Championship on Thursday evening.

Just 0.7 seconds covered the top six after Lousada.

All three Hyundais are in the top five, with Hayden Paddon third and Dani Sordo fifth, sandwiching Elfyn Evans's DMACK Ford.

Championship leader Sebastien Ogier completes the initial top six ahead of the leading Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala, while Kris Meeke was only 11th but within two seconds of the front.

Sebastien Ogier, Rally Portugal

Sebastien Ogier, Rally PortugalGetty Images

The World Rally Car entry for this round is bolstered by Citroen adding a fourth 2017 C3 for the first time for team regular Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Toyota's third Yaris for Esapekka Lappi arriving. They were 17th and 13th respectively at Lousada.

Martin Prokop is also making his first WRC appearance of 2017 in Portugal, albeit still using his '16 Ford - which is now running on DMACKs - and began with the 16th-fastest time.

With his hopes of returning to the top class having been dashed despite extensive talks with multiple teams and even a test with Hyundai, Andreas Mikkelsen resumed WRC2 duty with Skoda and leads the class overnight by 1.6s over M-Sport's Teemu Suninen.

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