Drama on Rally de Portugal - Day 2

The second day of Rally de Portugal was dramatic and treacherous, resulting in half of the day’s stages being cancelled for safety reasons due to extreme wet weather. So, at the end of seven stages, Citroën driver Mikko Hirvonen heads the leaderboard with Evgeny Novikov and Mads Østberg holding second and third respectively.Today’s leg was scheduled to take in two loops of three stages totalling 132.68 competitive kilometres. However, storms overnight made conditions treacherous this morning and a number of leading crews ended up off the road and in retirement. Overnight leader Jari-Matti Latvala slid off the road; the Finn hit a rock, broke part of the suspension and the resultant damage put the car into a spin and down a bank. Ott Tänak, fourth last night, similarly went off, as did fifth-placed Thierry Neuville.In the following stage, Petter Solberg – who inherited the lead from Latvala – retired stuck in a ditch, both drivers throwing away Ford’s hopes of a maximum points haul following Sébastien Loeb’s retirement yesterday. Hirvonen therefore inherited the lead and has a 36.3 second advantage over Novikov, a fine overnight result for the Russian. Østberg has suffered his own problems, but the Norwegian is just 5.5 seconds further adrift in third. With the tricky conditions experienced this morning, the organisers of the event elected to cancel the repeat running of the stages in theafternoon, such were the continuing adverse weather conditions.1.   Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen Citroën DS3 WRC2.   Evgeny Novikov/Denis Giraudet Ford Fiesta RS WRC3.   Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC4.   Patrik Sandell/Maria Andersson MINI Cooper Works WRC5.   Martin Prokop/Zdenek Hruza Ford Fiesta RS WRC6.   Nasser Al-Attiyah/G Bernacchini Citroën DS3 WRC7.   Peter Van Merksteijn/E Chevaillier Citroën DS3 WRC8.   Dennis Kuipers/Robin Buysmans Ford Fiesta RS WRC9.   Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia Skoda Fabia S200010. Jari Ketomaa/Mika Stenberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC