Suárez Leads After Portugal Opener

Suárez Leads After Portugal Opener

Spain's José Suárez leads the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy after setting fastest times on two of today's five stages. Holding a slender 0.6 second lead after the opening super-special stage in Lisbon last night, he used his knowledge of the event to extend that advantage to 21.4 seconds over Yeray Lemes.

Norway's Marius Aasen was fastest on the first two tests this morning and moved into the lead by just 0.3 seconds at midday service. However, he retired with broken steering on stage six and handed the lead to 23-year-old Suárez.

Max Vatanen shone on his WRC debut after setting third fastest time on stage two this morning. However the Finnish star lost 12 seconds with a spin on the next test before rolling into retirement on the last stage this evening.

Less fortunate was Lebanese driver Nicolas Amiouni who required a hospital check-over after crashing heavily on stage two.

José Suárez said: "It was a really great day and a good way to start this new Trophy for me. I'm very happy to be leading and my experience of this car and the rally is certainly helping. The conditions have been tough, especially on the second pass, so you need to drive with your head."

Yeray Lemes said: "I'm happy with today, sitting in second is a good position. I like these new DMACK tyres especially with the braking and it's given me a good feeling with the car in general. Tomorrow we will keep the same pace and maybe try to close the gap."

Quentin Gilbert said: "We had a good day, made no mistakes but concentrated on getting used to the car. The stages were tough, we built up the speed gradually and now it's a good position for tomorrow. I'm not planning on attacking tomorrow, I will try and keep the same pace."

After SS7

1. José Suárez 1h 39m 20.3s
2. Yeray Lemes 1h 39m 41.7s
3. Quentin Gilbert 1h 40m 19.1s
4. Sander Pärn 1h 42m 15.4s
5. Tom Cave 1h 42m 24.0s
6. Nil Solans 1h 43m 08.1s


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