Rallying: Sebastien Ogier takes the early Rally of Portugal lead
Sebastien Ogier leads the way after the first special stage of the Rally of Portugal.
Last Updated: 03/04/14 8:59pm
Ogier headed a Volkswagen 1-2-3, finishing the day 1.3 seconds ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala on the Finn's 29th birthday.
Andreas Mikkelsen came home third after negotiating the 3.27km test on cobbles and asphalt at Praco do Imperio 2.2secs adrift of Ogier.
Thierry Neuville finished fourth in his Hyundai i20, 2.9secs behind Ogier, while British driver Kris Meeke and Mikko Hirvonen completed the top six.
All the leading drivers opted for soft compound tyres except Hyundai's Dani Sordo, who appeared happy to lose a few seconds to save his allocation of soft rubber in case the cool and wet weather continues into the rally proper.
Friday's leg restarts in Faro for two identical loops of six stages covering 136km in the hills north-west of the city.
"It's a good start but the real stuff starts tomorrow," Ogier told the WRC's official website.
"We're here to win the rally but it won't be easy."