(Reuters) - Hyundai’s Belgian driver Thierry Neuville retook the lead in the World Rallying Championship from France’s Sebastian Ogier on Sunday after winning the Portuguese Rally.
Briton Elfyn Evans finished second in a Ford Fiesta, 7.3 seconds ahead of team mate Teemu Suninen of Finland, and 40 seconds behind Neuville.
Neuville steered clear of trouble on rocky dirt roads to win this sixth round of the series and demote five-times champion Ogier from the top of the standings.
Title challengers Ogier and Ott Tanak ended pointless after falling foul of Friday’s rock-strewn speed tests and Neuville pressed home his advantage by claiming four extra bonus points in the final Power Stage.
Those extra points moved Neuville 19 points clear of Ogier with the series approaching its midpoint, and 47 ahead of Tanak.
“It was a clever approach all weekend,” Neuville said. “I had a fantastic car which was working well and I felt comfortable.
“We can be proud of what we achieved here. There are a lot of Portuguese mechanics in the team and I think the party is going to be big tonight.”
Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Clare Fallon