Neuville and Ost­berg fastest as Kiwi chases

Weekend Herald - - WHAT’S ON -

Thierry Neuville and Mads Ost­berg yes­ter­day recorded equal fastest times on the open­ing stage of Rally Por­tu­gal with Kiwi Hayden Pad­don the next fastest.

Hyundai driver Pad­don posted the third fastest time on the short 3.36km open­ing test to give him some con­fi­dence ahead of the first full day of ac­tion overnight.

The 30- year- old needs a big open­ing day if he wants to earn a good road po­si­tion for the week­end and fight for a rally win.

He had ear­lier been happy with his car's per­for­mance in the preevent shake­down.

Pad­don will have every op­por­tu­nity to fight for a win with the Hyundai World Rally Team em­ploy­ing a clear phi­los­o­phy around team strat­egy.

Neuville is in the fight for the

“I’m lucky we all get on well and have a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties. It’s a nice en­vi­ron­ment to work in and it’s a big vote of con­fi­dence that some­one of John’s sta­tus sees a lot of things in me that he has, which is quite hum­bling.

“They have been very suc­cess­ful and I hope I can help Hayden to con­tinue to be so,” Mar­shall said. world cham­pi­onship while the team is clearly tar­get­ing a man­u­fac­turer's ti­tle.

But Pad­don be­lieves they'll al­low him every op­por­tu­nity to win.

“The team's main pri­or­ity is the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ cham­pi­onship so ba­si­cally as each rally de­vel­ops, once they can see how the po­si­tions are look­ing, then maybe there will be instructions com­ing in to hold po­si­tion or to push de­pend­ing on how the three cars are go­ing,” Pad­don said.

“That is a strat­egy that is looked upon as the rally pro­gresses.”

El­fyn Evans ( DMACK Ford), Dani Sordo ( Hyundai) and Se­bastien Ogier ( M- Sport Ford) com­pleted the top six yes­ter­day.

Por­tu­gal should be a good op­por­tu­nity for the pair to grab a fist full of points as he tested there two months ago. They also re­cently tested in Sar­dinia to get a jump on set­tings.

This event is quite easy on tyres and he’s on his favoured sur­face so a top three fin­ish could be on the cards.

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