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LIVE COMMENTARY: WRC PORTUGAL, BAHRAIN F1 SUPPORTS - WRC PORTUGAL
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: WRC Portugal
By Charles Bradley, David Evans, Scott Mitchell and Dan Cross
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Fri 08:33 Good morning and welcome to AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live’s coverage of the Rally of Portugal 2014.

Fri 08:34 We will be following every stage live as it happens over the next three days, bringing you all the news, gossip and analysis from the service park too.

Fri 08:36 The first stage took place in the capital city of Lisbon last night and it was Sebastien Ogier who won the 3.27km street test, beating birthday boy Jari-Matti Latvala by 1.3 seconds, with fellow team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen a further 0.9s back.

button Ogier leads all-VW superspecial top three

bridgeFri 08:37 No journey to Lisbon is complete – or possible – without a trip across the world’s 23rd largest suspension bridge – the 25th Carnival Revolution. Here it is. And yes, it does look like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Fri 08:39 While the stage went down well last night, the drivers weren’t so keen on the 170-mile drag back down the road to Faro.

Most plugged in their iPods while some set their sights on the fastest time for the journey set by Henning Solberg a couple of years ago. It’s more than our life’s worth to tell you that time…

Fri 08:40 Good news is, AUTOSPORT was on it and passed a certain world champion not once but twice – before and after a coffee stop.

Fri 08:42 So it’s back to the Algarve this morning, ahead of three days of tricky gravel stages in the Baixo Alentejo and Serra do Caldeirao hills, north of Faro.

Fri 08:43 Friday’s route criss-crosses the motorway from Lisbon to the Algarve, containing three morning stages, which are repeated after service at the rally’s Algarve Stadium base - there will be 136km of action today.

Fri 08:43 It was supposed to be 146km, but the Ourique test has been shortened by 4.83km at the start due to safety reasons. The stage, running as SS3 and SS6, was one of the worst affected during Tuesday’s torrential downpour which disrupted the recce.

Fri 08:43 Which leads us nicely on to what happened to poor old Bernardo Sousa…

SousaFri 08:44 The WRC2 driver is returning to the championship for the first time since 2011 this weekend, but his preparations were interrupted when he went off the road during the recce.

"The car slide wide in one corner," said Sousa," and we went into the ditch.

"The back of the car was in a small river, but the water was only covering the rear wheel a little bit."

Sousa then swapped to a spare car and left the ditched recce car where it was.

Fri 08:45 He continued: "Two hours later I called the mechanics to see if they got the car back, but they told me it was gone and they couldn't find it anywhere.

"The found it this morning (Thursday), about 500 metres down river from the place that I stopped!"

We hope the local favourite keeps his Ford Fiesta RRC well away from any ditches this weekend…

Fri 08:46 Here are the standings after Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico:

1 Sebastien Ogier 63
2 Jari-Matti Latvala 60
3 Mads Ostberg 32
4 Andreas Mikkelsen 24
5 Elfyn Evans 20
6 Bryan Bouffier 18

(25 for a win, 3 for powerstage win)
Full season statistics on Forix

Fri 08:48 That also means World Rally Championship leader Ogier will be first into the stages today, and we reckon that Latvala may have the edge thanks to starting second in the road order - the position that benefits most from the road sweeper ahead (Ogier), which could give him the advantage today.

LatvalaFri 08:48 He’ll be desperate to add a positive chapter to his Rally of Portugal story. His six event starts have been overshadowed by the spectacular crash in 2009 when his car rolled 17 times down a hillside.

He crashed out again the following year, before reaching the podium in 2011, and was leading in 2012 before slipping off the road in difficult conditions.

The Finn claimed his maiden podium with the Polo R in Portugal last year and only missed out on second place because of a broken drive shaft. So 2014 must be the year his luck changes, mustn’t it?

Fri 08:52 We kick off the day with the 21.50km Silves test, which begins at 10:06 BST. Ourique and Almodovar will then complete the morning at around midday.

Fri 08:56 Could be tricky conditions within today's trio of stages following the mid-week downpour. It has been dry and breezy recently, but the roads have a clay surface and become very slippery in damp conditions.

Fri 09:01 One nugget of information we just stumbled upon concerns Volkswagen, who could draw level with Citroen’s record of eight consecutive WRC victories - set in 2011 - should they win this weekend.

Their tally stretches back to Australia last year.

Fri 09:02 For the record, Lancia and Mitsubishi both won six WRC events in a row, while Citroen have achieved that twice.

OgierFri 09:07 Ogier is onto SS2 and we're up and running in Portugal.

Fri 09:08 It shouldn't take the reigning champion much more than 12 minutes to reach the end. Bar any catastrophes, of course...

Fri 09:12 Live timing clearly hasn't had its Weetabix this morning - other whole grain wheat breakfast cereals are available - as we're not seeing any split times yet.

Fri 09:17 Ostberg appears to be setting the pace in the early portion of the stage. He's the quickest through the first split, 0.2s up on Ogier.

Fri 09:19 Mikkelsen is 2.8s down on Ostberg at 4.70km. Ogier through the third 18.20km split in 10m52.7s.

Latvala is at least 1.5s behind his VW team-mate through the first two splits.

Fri 09:20 Ogier completes the stage in 12m29.4s.

Fri 09:23 Next up is Latvala, who reaches the end in 12m32.1s

"It was difficult to get the right rhythm on the stage." says the Finn. "It was very slippery in stages. It's not a bad time."

Fri 09:25 A decent time by Ostberg who completes the stage 0.8s slower than Ogier. He admits he struggled through the final split.

Fri 09:28 Mikkelsen admits he is taking a cautious approach this morning, having posted a time 18.9s slower than Ogier.

"I drove very safely because I want to build up my confidence after what happened in Mexico."

Fri 09:32 And Hirvonen completes the stage 0.9s quicker than Ogier.

"It's tricky as the grip level is changing all the time. The line is so slippery, I've tried to go off it to find traction somewhere else."

Fri 09:33 Meeke will be looking for an untroubled finish on the Rally of Portugal following a season littered with problems.

His time of 12m43.6s is a decent start on what is his event debut.

Fri 09:37 Great start by Ott Tanak who goes quickest so far on SS2! He set a time of 12m26.8s.

"I was being careful in the beginning. I was not confident at all, but it got better throughout the stage."

TanakFri 09:39 Tanak is back for the second of three scheduled drives in a Fiesta RS after his R5 outing in Mexico.

button Ott Tanak believes he can be very strong in Rally Portugal

Fri 09:41 Sordo has been flying through the first three split and looks on course to topple Tanak from the top of the timesheet...

Fri 09:43 ...and he has, 1.9s quicker than Tanak.

One of his rear windows is missing as he reaches the end of the stage, which the Spaniard says he knows nothing about!

Fri 09:47 Robert Kubica is the next driver through the finish line. He's eighth quickest with a time of 12m35.2s.

"It's not easy, but it's a lot drier than I was expecting," said the former Formula 1 driver.

Fri 09:48 This week's Algarve-based event is the Pole's first attempt at a rally in which he has competed before. Although, despite having been on the rally last year, half of the route has been altered from 2013.

Fri 09:51 SS2 results: 1 Sordo 12m25.5s; 2 Tanak +1.3s; 3 Hirvonen +3.0s; 4 Ogier +3.9s; 5 Ostberg +4.7s; 6 Latvala +6.6s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 15m22.1s; 2 Tanak +1.9s; 3 Sordo +3.1s; 4 Hirvonen +3.4s; 5 Latvala +4.0s; 6 Ostberg +5.6s

Fri 09:52 So, Sordo has given the Hyundai i20 its first ever WRC stage win this morning!

Fri 09:59 The second stage of the morning gets underway at Ourique in just under 10 minutes. It's been shortened by 4.83km as a result of the rain that hit the area earlier this week.

rainFri 10:00 And what rain. Almost 60mm of the stuff deluged the Algarve region and brought with it the cancellation of the recce of the Ourique and Santana de Serra stages on Tuesday.

Recce cars had to be towed out of flash floods and, as rain continued to fall, organisers cancelled practice in those two tests.

Fri 10:09 SS3 is live and VW team-mates Ogier and Latvala are heading towards the first split. Hopefully the live timing facility will play ball this time around...

Fri 10:19 Impressive performance by Elfyn Evans in the previous stage, by the way. The Welshman was 10th quickest, ahead of the likes of Neuville and Meeke. He currently lies in 11th place overall, 12.2s behind current leader Ogier.

Fri 10:21 Speaking of people with the surname Evans... Mitch Evans topped the first GP2 Series practice session of the year in Bahrain this morning.

button Mitch Evans beats F1 juniors to set practice pace

Fri 10:23 Split times are filtering through. Latvala is 3.0s slower than Ogier through the first one, but Ostberg is 0.1s up on the reigning champion.

Fri 10:25 Ogier has just completed the stage in 12m27.3s.

"It was incredibly tough." he admits. "Some places are muddy and some are dry. I'm not so happy with the car."

Fri 10:27 Next up is Latvala, who is 3.5s slower than his team-mate.

"I don't have the confidence to go in the slippery places and I lack the confidence," says the rather downhearted Finn.

Fri 10:30 Good run by Ostberg through SS3, who completes the stage 1.4s behind Ogier.

"It's not so easy to drive," says Ostberg at the finish. "We are enjoying it and we just need to drive the correct way."

Fri 10:34 Mikkelsen is the third and final VW to complete the stage. The Norwegian lost bags of time through the final two splits and finished 22.7s behind Ogier. He currently lies in 13th overall.

Fri 10:36 Hirvonen arrives at the finish and slots into first place with a time of 12m25.8s - 1.5s quicker than Ogier.

"It's going well and I have a good feeling with the car," said the Finn. "But you know, there are other cars behind who will be going better."

Fri 10:39 Next up is Nevuille, fresh from a maiden podium finish for Hyundai in Mexico last month. The Belgian's time is 12.32.1s, which is currently the fifth quickest.

Fri 10:42 Tanak finishes the stage with the fastest time so far - 12m24.8s. But all eyes are now on Sordo, who is going like the clappers at the moment...

Fri 10:47 Henning Solberg is competing in his second WRC event this weekend. The popular Norweigan driver finished seventh in a Ford Fiesta RS in Sweden, but that might be difficult to top in Portugal, especially since he suffered a left-rear puncture in SS3.

"I don't know what happened!" he said at the end.

Fri 10:48 No problems for Sordo, however, who is 4.0s quicker than Tanak through SS3 and has taken the lead of the rally. He now leads Ogier by 2.8s overall.

Fri 10:56 SS3 results: 1 Sordo 12m20.8s; 2 Tanak +4.0s; 3 Hirvonen +5.0s; 4 Ogier +6.5s; 5 Ostberg +7.9s; 6 Latvala +10.0s.

Overall: 1 Sordo 27m46.0s; 2 Tanak +2.8s; 3 Ogier +3.4s; 4 Hirvonen +5.3s; 5 Ostberg +10.4s; 6 Latvala +10.9s.

OstbergFri 11:03 SS4 is already up and running. Ogier, Latvala and Ostberg are currently tackling the 26.48km Almodovar test.

Fri 11:07 Ogier completes the fourth stage in 16.39.9s.

"Not too bad, but the guys behind are going much faster," he admits. "We'll have to try and go better this afternoon."

Fri 11:09 Team-mate Latvala is next through the finish line. A good run by the Finn, who is 7.1s quicker than Ogier!

Fri 11:10 Looks like Elfyn Evans has stopped within the stage...

Fri 11:13 Ostberg slots into third place, 9.1s behind Latvala.

"We have a very soft car for the mud," he says. "I chickened out in many, many places."

Fri 11:14 Slow time for Mikkelsen, who comes home in 17.17.3s. A long way off what the frontrunners will be setting.

Fri 11:15 No news on Evans yet. His Ford Fiesta is still stopped 17km away from the start.

Fri 11:19 Hirvonen is unable to remove Latvala from the top of the SS4 timesheets. His time is 16.39.3s - 7.5s slower than the VW driver.

Fri 11:22 Looks like Hanninen has also stopped in the stage. No word on what the cause is yet.

Fri 11:22 Not a great time by Meeke who reaches the finish in 17m26.4s.

"My notes in there... I nearly stopped listening to them at one point as they were putting me off."

Fri 11:24 Not to rub salt in Meeke's wound, but his time is 54.6s slower than Latvala's.

Fri 11:25 Looks like Hanninen is back up and running. Early reports suggest he suffered a puncture. The Finn has lost the best part of two minutes as a result.

Fri 11:28 Sounds like Kubica has stopped mid-way through this stage as well.

Fri 11:29 Top three for now is Latvala, Ogier and Hirvonen. Rally leader Sordo doesn't look to have had the advantage on this stage as he just about reaches the finish...

Fri 11:30 Sordo's time is 19.4s slower than Latvala! He drops to fifth overall as a result.

"Now we need a little bit more power, a bit more traction," said the Spaniard. "I think we're back to normal now."

Fri 11:31 Word has it that Kubica has created a chicane of sorts as he is blocking the road in SS4.

Fri 11:39 Kubica's car has finally been moved after a good 10 minutes of pushing and shoving, much to the WRC2 runner's dismay we would guess.

Fri 11:41 SS4 results: 1 Latvala 16m31.8s; 2 Ogier +7.1s; 3 Hirvonen +7.5s; 4 Ostberg +9.1s; 5 Tanak +13.2s; 6 Sordo +19.4s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 44m28.3s; 2 Latvala +0.4s; 3 Hirvonen +2.3s; 4 Tanak +5.5s; 5 Sordo +8.9s; 6 Ostberg +9.0s.

Fri 11:43 We understand that Kubica clipped a rock 10km before the end of the stage and took a wheel off. He and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak are said to be ok.

Fri 11:57 A full report of this morning's opening loop of stages will shortly be on the AUTOSPORT website.

Fri 12:01 But it's normal service resumed as Ogier leads the Rally of Portugal ahead of VW team-mate Latvala, with Hirvonen rounding off the top three.

Sordo was unable to match his stage winning pace in the final test of the morning and dropped to fifth overall.

Fri 12:03 Evans news! The Welshman is said to have rolled three or four times in the last stage. His Fiesta is apparently stuck at the bottom of a steep bank and will need to be winched out.

OgierFri 12:09 As promised, here is the full report from the first three (proper) stages of the 2014 Rally or Portugal:

buttonSebastien Ogier holds narrow lead

Fri 12:12 After the action-packed SS4, the WRC drivers and crew are on their way to the rally's Algarve Stadium base for a 30-minute service.

Action resumes this afternoon 14:51, so we'll be slowing the pace with the updates until then.

Fri 12:20 We are in a bit of a lull now while everyone takes a breather before the second loop of the day gets underway, so what better excuse than to dip into the wondrous archival paradise that is YouTube and enjoy Ogier’s winning run over the Fafe stage last weekend.



Fri 12:20 Run for the last three years, the Fafe Rally Sprint takes place on a six-kilometre section of the iconic Fafe-Lameimha stage near Porto in the north of Portugal and, as you can see, it is very much a fan favourite.

fordsFri 12:31 M-Sport’s range of Ford Fiesta rally cars make up 49 per cent of the Rally of Portugal entry this year.

There are six RS WRCs, five RRCs, two S2000s, 14 R5s and 15 R2 cars tackling the stages.

That's 42 Fiestas in total and every one of them built at M-Sport's facility in Cumbria.

Malcolm Wilson is understandably proud at the impact his company was having on the WRC.

"This is the most cars we've had on a WRC round," said the M-Sport head honcho.

"We've had a bigger percentage of the entry – we've had over 50 per cent in the past – but as you imagine I'm very pleased with this.

"This is a fair reflection of the hard work which has gone in by everybody in M-Sport."

Chris woodFri 12:45 Be sure to check out DAVID EVANS'S latest feature while you munch on your lunch today.

It focuses on Chris Wood, who was once one of Britain's top rally co-drivers but was rendered tetraplegic after a cycling accident two years ago.

The motorsport community is now digging deep to help him and his amazing story will undoubtedly inspire you.

buttonHelp Woody: Motorsport rallies round

MeekeFri 13:04 When the crews aren't competing in the stages, driving on the road sections, or eating and sleeping, they can usually be found watching their onboard videos of the stages.

Like Citroen's Kris Meeke.

"It helps to familiarise you with the stages," said the Brit.

"It prompts the memory – you might remember going through this section here or that farm there, but you are absolutely not memorising the stages at all."

Fri 13:19 Hanninen's co-driver Tomi Tuominen managed to take a quick pic of Kubica's road-blocking Fiesta on the previous stage:

"My view SS4 @rallydeportugal pic.twitter.com/TbcpZ10joy"

Fri 13:39 The WRC convey is currently en route to the first of this afternoon's stages. Not too long to go before we get going again - 12 minutes, in fact.

Fri 13:51 Ogier is onto SS5 and we're up and running again in Portugal.

Fri 13:52 Sordo was fastest through the 21.50km Silves test this morning. He completed it in 12m25.5s and gave the Hyundai i20 its first WRC stage victory.

Fri 13:54 Times should be quicker this afternoon now that everyone has run through the stages and the loose gravel has been displaced.

Fri 13:58 For those just joining us, the overall leaderboard looks like this at the moment:

1 Ogier 44m28.3s; 2 Latvala +0.4s; 3 Hirvonen +2.3s; 4 Tanak +5.5s; 5 Sordo +8.9s; 6 Ostberg +9.0s.

Fri 14:01 Ostberg is 2.5s quicker than Ogier and Latvala at the first split. The Norwegian is third on the road this afternoon.

Fri 14:02 We're hearing that Latvala may have rolled in the stage. He hasn't reached the third split...

Fri 14:05 Team-mate Ogier is through to the finish. His time is 11m53.8s.

"It's really different; good grip. I'm happy with that."

Fri 14:09 Still waiting for more information regarding Latvala. In the meantime, Ostberg is the second driver to complete the stage and does so in 12m05.4s.

He gave a brief idea of what happened to the VW driver:

"Maybe not rolled, but he's crashed at least."

Fri 14:11 Mikkelsen's next through the finishing line. No dramas for the Norwegian today and his confidence seems to be improving. He completes Silves in 12.11.3s.

Fri 14:13 Confirmation that Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila are okay.

Fri 14:13 Next up is Hirvonen, who slots into second place, 2.7s off Ogier.

Fri 14:15 A cautious Meeke posts a time 20.6s slower than Ogier.

"Grip is incredible on the second pass," says the Citroen driver. "It was okay and I am happy."

TanankFri 14:19 A great time by Tanak, who is just 0.9s slower than Ogier and goes into second place! He'll move up to third overall thanks to Latvala's mid-stage mishap.

Fri 14:21 Like Hirvonen, Neuville is running on Michelin's soft compound tyre for this afternoon's loop of stages. But the drying conditions are making that decision look unwisely.

The Belgian finished the stage 9.2s slower than Ogier.

Fri 14:23 Sordo's splits indicate he won't be repeating his stage winning antics of this morning...

Fri 14:24 ...and sure enough, he hasn't. He completes the stage 7.2s behind Ogier to go fourth quickest.

Fri 14:28 SS5 results: 1 Ogier 11m53.8s; 2 Tanak +0.9s; 3 Hirvonen +2.7s; 4 Sordo +7.2s; 5 Neuville +9.2s; 6 Ostberg +11.6s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 56m22.1s; 2 Hirvonen +5.0s; 3 Tanak +6.4s; 4 Sordo +16.1s; 5 Ostberg +20.6s; 6 Neuville +42.8s.

Fri 14:30 Henning Solberg currently occupies seventh, being 1m21.5s off the ultimate pace. The popular Norwegian is just 0.8s ahead of Hanninen, so that'll be a battle to watch this afternoon.

Fri 14:38 As we reported earlier, the likes of Hirvonen, Tanak and Neuville are on the soft compound tyre at the moment and they're looking just a little ragged.

Ogier's gamble to go on the harder tyres looks like it will pay dividends this afternoon.

We reckon various WRC teams will soon be participating in a rain dance.

Fri 14:42 The second of this afternoon's stages is the shortened Ourique, which gets underway at 15:51. So just under 10 minutes, then.

Fri 14:55 The penultimate stage of the day is underway and it is Ogier leading Ostberg and Mikkelsen following Latvala's roll on SS5.

Fri 14:57 Sordo was the quickest through this stage this morning with a time of 12m20.8s.

Fri 14:58 Quick weather update from the Algarve Stadium... it's cloudy.

Fri 14:58 Latvala reports that he ran wide on SS5, hit a rock face, then flipped his Polo R which sent him into a roll.

Fri 15:05 This is definitely breaking news... after an hour chatting with Rally Australia clerk of the course Adrian Stafford, AUTOSPORT is sad to report the demise of the Tuckers Nob stage on Rally Oz.

Part of the most season's most amusingly named test will be used as a back-up plan for shakedown on the September event - but nobody will be fastest on Tuckers Nob this year. Shame.

AUTOSPORT.com will have a detailed outline of Rally Australia's plans later next week. Just thought we should bring you the important stuff first.

Fri 15:07 Ostberg is only 0.2s behind Ogier at the first split in SS6.

Fri 15:08 We also have a little bit more detail from Elfyn Evans' crash on SS4. Ace Ralio reporter Howard Davies (he who guided Gwyndaf Evans to a British title and multiple rally wins - but now known for being the sport's funniest fella) has spoken to Evans Jr and it's hoped he'll be back out tomorrow.

Seems Elfyn turned in a little late for a fourth-gear corner and the car got away from him.

Fri 15:10 Ogier completes the stage in 12m13.5s.

"The pressure is on," reckons the reigning champion. "I think those behind should be a bit faster - I found the stage a bit slippery."

OstbergFri 15:14 Ostberg couldn't match Ogier's pace through the whole stage and posts a time of 12.15.0s - 1.5s slower than Ogier.

"It was quite a good stage," says the Norweigan. "I was really slow on the stage before, but a great improvement this afternoon."

Fri 15:16 Mikkelsen third through to the finish with a time 14.3s slower than Ogier's best. He reports he is struggling with understeer.

Fri 15:18 Hirvonen going very well today - he's just beaten Ogier's time by 2.6s and is now just 2.4s behind in the overall classification.

Fri 15:21 Meeke completes the stage with his left front tyre half off its rim! His time is 19.9s slower than Hirvonen's.

Fri 15:22 And Neuville goes quickest of all! 0.5s quicker than Hirvonen's best.

Fri 15:25 Tanak posts a time of 12m11.5s, which is 1.1s slower than Neuville's and makes him the third fastest through the stage.

Fri 15:29 No punctures of Solberg on his second run through this stage. The Norweigan completes it in 12m20.1s.

Fri 15:30 Great time by Sordo, who is 1.9s behind Hyundai team-mate Neuville.

Fri 15:33 SS6 results: 1 Neuville 12m10.4s; 2 Hirvonen +0.5s; 3 Tanak +1.1s; 4 Sordo +1.9s; 5 Ogier +3.1s; 6 Ostberg +4.6s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 1h08m35.6s; 2 Hirvonen +2.4s; 3 Tanak +4.4s; 4 Sordo +14.9s; 5 Ostberg +22.1s; 6 Neuville +39.7s.

Fri 15:35 While the WRC2 cars start coming through SS6, the frontrunners are already onto the 26.48km of Almodovar.

Fri 15:43 Not for the first time today, the WRC live timing service is on the fritz. We're going to presume that Ostberg is slightly off Ogier's pace through the first split.

Fri 15:47 And we're wrong. Sort of.

Ostberg 0.1s quicker than Ogier at the first split, but 0.1s slower through the second. Hirvonen, meanwhile, is quickest of all through the first - 3.4s faster than Ogier's best.

Fri 15:50 Hirvonen now 3.3s up on Ogier at the second split. The gap between the two in the overall classification is just 2.4s...

Fri 15:52 Ogier completes the final stage of the day in 16m36.5s.

Fri 15:53 Hirvonen now 5.1s quicker than Ogier at the penultimate split. Looks like we're going to have a new rally leader.

Fri 15:56 Ostberg 3.0s faster than Ogier. He retains fifth place overall.

"We're pushing harder, but it's very tricky conditions and I think I chose the wrong tyre choice this afternoon," admits the Norweigan.

Fri 15:57 Hirvonen on a charge this afternoon - 7.3s up on Ogier at the final split!

Fri 15:58 Meeke has stopped on the stage.

Fri 15:59 Tracking shows Meeke's Citroen has come to a halt at the 16.9km mark where, coincidentally, Evans had a mishap this morning.

Fri 15:59 And Hirvonen posts a time 8.9s quicker than Ogier and is the new rally leader!

Fri 16:01 "It has been a fantastic day and I've enjoyed it!," says Hirvonen. "But it's one day down and there's two to go."

Fri 16:07 Tanak posts the second quickest time of the stage and his 16.29.3s is good enough to put him second overall!

Fri 16:14 Sordo finishes the stage 13.2s off the ultimate pace. He drops to fifth overall and is now 0.1s behind Ostberg.

Fri 16:17 SS7 results: 1 Hirvonen 16m27.6s; 2 Tanak +1.7s; 3 Neuville +4.7s; 4 Ostberg +5.9s; 5 Ogier +8.9s; 6 Sordo +13.2s.

Overall: 1 Hirvonen 1h25m05.6s; 2 Tanak +3.7s; 3 Ogier +6.5s; 4 Ostberg +25.6s; 5 Sordo +25.7s; 6 Neuville +42.0s.

Fri 16:20 Meeke has been in touch with the team and is reported to have rolled on the same corner as Evans. It is hoped he will return under Rally 2.

Fri 16:28 That brings an end to our coverage of the opening leg of the 2014 Rally of Portugal.

We will be back tomorrow from 09:30 to bring you all the news, gossip and analysis from the service park.

Sat 08:35 Hello and welcome back to AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live's rolling coverage of the 2014 Rally of Portugal.

We enjoyed a very entertaining first day of proper running here, even though it still ended in a one-two at the front...oh, but not for Volkswagen.

Game on.



Sat 08:39 Before we delve into the nitty-gritty stuff of what made yesterday so entertaining, here is your headline: Mikko Hirvonen leads.

The Finn had a superb end to the day to overhaul Sebastien Ogier for top spot - and he brought M-Sport's super-sub Ott Tanak with him. The top six looks like this after SS7:

1 Hirvonen 1h25m05.6s; 2 Tanak +3.7s; 3 Ogier +6.5s; 4 Ostberg +25.6s; 5 Sordo +25.7s; 6 Neuville +42.0s.

You can read a proper report of Friday's running here:

Hirvonen leads Tanak as Ogier drops back

Sat 08:43 So, into the dirty stuff (pun not intended, but isn't it great when things work out?).

Plenty happened yesterday, with high-profile incidents for Jari-Matti Latvala, Robert Kubica, Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans.

Latvala was fighting team-mate Ogier for the lead until he rolled out of second. Explaining the incident, he said:

"At a left-hander the car understeered and went a bit wide. I corrected, and thought it would come back, but there was a big, big hole at the outside of the corner, maybe from where the rain had washed away the road.

"I hit the hole and the car went on two wheels, then the front hit the bank and we rolled."

Sat 08:49 The first stage of this morning starts in just over five minutes time. That's the 19km Santa Clara run.

Sat 08:51 Bad news for fans of Meeke. His accident, according to co-driver Paul Nagle caused by a pace note error, damaged the roll-cage of his Citroen DS3 WRC and he will not be competing today.

Sat 08:53 So, Meeke suffered the ultimate consequence of crashing out early in a rally - but what about the rest?

Kubica missed the afternoon stages after his shunt. "I had zero moments before we came to SS4, but then we made a mistake coming out of a right-left-right turn sequence," he explained.

"I noticed the experienced WRC drivers cut the turns more than I thought was possible on the recce, so I followed those lines. At the end of the right turn we hit the limb of a tree. I was very surprised.

"I saw a tree there but I was sure it was far from the edge of the road, and when I realised that it was growing at a very steep angle, it was too late and that's why we hit the bottom of it."

Sat 08:54 It was a double-whammy for Kubica as, in addition to ending his chances of fighting at the front, he was just started to get a smile on his face.

"The right side of the car went up and we hit something with the left-front and destroyed the suspension. I am very upset because, for the first time, I really had a lot of fun driving on gravel," he added.

Kubica starts second on the road behind Elfyn Evans.

Sat 08:55 Talking of Evans, who should be out any moment now, the Welshman came a cropper at exactly the same right-hander on the Almodovar stage that caught out Meeke.

M-Sport’s team principal Malcolm Wilson has made plain his intentions for the Welshman today.

Wilson said: “I want to see him getting straight back on it. I want to see him going as quickly as possible again and that’s what I’ve told him to go out there and do.”

Sat 08:57 Elfyn takes to the stage, and we are underway again on Rally Portugal!

This is the running order today, subject to further shunts/delays.

Evans
Kubica
Latvala
Al Qassimi
Prokop
Mikkelsen
Solberg
Neuville
Sordo
Ostberg
Ogier
Tanak
Hirvonen

Sat 08:58 Despite Evans’ crash, Wilson has plenty to smile about right now with his team running first and second ahead of the might of Volkswagen.

"It’s fantastic," beamed MW just after breakfast this morning. "We led rallies last year, but it's been a while since we had a one-two. It’s great for the whole team and great to see Mikko finding the car so easy to drive.

"As for Ott, he was very, very impressive yesterday. Without the problem he had with his pace notes in SS4, he could easily have been leading this event right now."

Sat 09:03 Evans has clocked in at the second split now, and Kubica - in through the first checkpoint - trails the Welshman by 1.4s.

Sat 09:06 Kubica loses more time in the second split (he's 3.5s down on Evans) but Latvala, returning under Rally2 rules, is 1.5s quicker than the Welshman at the first split.

Sat 09:08 Evans completes the stage in 12m39.6s. Latvala is 3.6s quicker at the second split.

Sat 09:10 "Massive credit to the team," says Evans, "they have done an incredible job. The car's absolutely perfect."

He confirms that the team only got the car back after his shunt at 1am in the morning!

Sat 09:11 Kubica drops another 0.5s to Evans as he flies through the third split.

Sat 09:12 The Pole comes through 4.7s slower than Evans. A cautious run?

"It's OK, yesterday was very, very strange. Today we hope to enjoy it, have fun and to enjoy it a bit."

Sat 09:13 It is interesting that, with Evans suffering his first sizable WRC shunt, M-Sport's advice was to crack on and push hard.

If in doubt, flat out...sound logic, right? Have heard that somewhere before. Oh yes, that's right.

In fact, one member of the Portuguese has sufficient levels of fever for the 1995 World Rally champion to quote Colin McRae across the back of his jacket.

The super-Scot took two victories in Portugal, winning the 1998 event for Subaru and the following year in the all-new Ford Focus WRC.

Sat 09:14 Latvala's about to show that however hard Evans drives, there's still a lot to learn (understandably).

The Finn is 6.1s quicker through the third split.

Al Qassimi is on the stage (several seconds down already), as are Juho Hanninen and Martin Prokop.

Hanninen, we are hearing, has a puncture.

Sat 09:15 In comes Jari-Matti. "There was quite a big impact to the front so it's very nice to be back. The target is to try to enjoy it and get the feeling back. It's very difficult so I need to see what happens, drive our own pace and see where we are."

Sat 09:16 Latvala's time, by the way, was 12m28.7s, just a shade under 11s quicker than Evans.

Sat 09:17 Mikkelsen is almost a second quicker than Latvala over the first split as the Norwegian enters the stage.

Sat 09:20 Al Qassimi has finished in 13m12.3s, and Hanninen is now in - but actually in quite a quick time.

He does have a left-rear puncture! That's a huge effort.

Sat 09:22 Hanninen stops the clock at 12m58.5s, which is very respectable. Still, he drops almost 30s to Latvala.

Mikkelsen continues to take time out of his team-mate's time, while Solberg, Neuville, and Sordo are all quicker through the first split.

Sat 09:22 Prokop's through, about seven seconds faster than Hanninen.

Sat 09:23 Ostberg and Ogier are onto the stage.

Sat 09:26 Mikkelsen drops back from Latvala's benchmark in the final moments of the stage and ends up seven seconds slower.

Sat 09:27 Sordo and Ostberg look set to topple Latvala though, but there is only a few tenths between them at the second split!

Sat 09:27 And Ogier is quickest of anyone through the first checkpoint - but then Tanak shades him! Excellent.

Sat 09:28 Solberg comes through in 12m43.4s, which shows how impressive Latvala's end to the stage was. Solberg lost nine seconds!

Sat 09:29 Through comes Neuville, and he goes second ahead of Mikkelsen.

Sat 09:30 Sordo goes quickest, just eclipsing Latvala's time. But is Ostberg about to beat the Spaniard?

Neuville was less than a second faster than Mikkelsen.

Sat 09:32 Yep, Ostberg finishes the stage in 12m24.1s - that's a few seconds quicker than Sordo's 12m28.2s too.

Just 0.1s separated the pair before that stage. Great run from the Citroen man, who reckons he's "lacking in confidence" here as well.

Sat 09:33 Ogier, that's how you do it. The world champion pips Ostberg by 1.1s, and goes quick with his 12m23.0s.

Sat 09:33 What about Tanak and Hirvonen?

The Estonian was a tenth slower after the second split, with Hirvonen a bit further back.

Sat 09:34 Ogier is quickest so far, but he's not getting carried out: "I think it's quite fair for everyone. It looks like he [Tanak] is in a good ryhthm."

Sat 09:34 Tanak is 0.9s slower than Ogier - that's trimmed his advantage to 1.9s.

Sat 09:36 Hirvonen is second quickest - 12m23.2s from the rally leader. That's a 4.4s lead over Tanak now.

Mighty conclusion to that stage from the Finn!

Sat 09:39 "It was OK, Ogier was 0.2s faster which is good because we were a few seconds down," says Hirvonen.

So, was that cautious, with an eye on conserving his lead and making sure there are no silly errors? Not a chance!

"It's just flat out, you can't manage it. It's really flat out."

OK, so what about Ogier? He reckons he has a bit in hand...what about Hirvonen?

"If he does it, we have to do the same."

Fighting talk! We love it.

Sat 09:41 SS8 results:

1 Ogier 12m23.0s
2 Hirvonen +0.2s
3 Tanak +0.9s
4 Ostberg +1.1s
5 Sordo +5.2s
6 Latvala +5.7s

Overall leaderboard:

1 Hirvonen 1h37m28.8s
2 Tanak +4.4s
3 Ogier +6.3s
4 Ostberg +26.5s
5 Sordo +30.7s
6 Neuville +53.4s

Sat 09:42 So, that's nice and competitive isn't it?

It could all change in the next hour, though. We're not far from the start of the second stage of the day, Santana da Serra.

This will be 31.90km in length - the longest of the rally.

Sat 09:45 Pointless Rally Portugal fact - we are not at all far from a professional football stadium.

In fact, here's a picture of the other side of the service park…yes, our man DAVID EVANS scaled the fence to bring you a pitch-side view of Louletano Desportos's ground.

They play in the third division (the Portuguese name for that is quite long). The stadium is 10 years old this year, was built for Euro 2004 and hosted three matches.

When it's full, 30,002 people are sitting in there. AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live thinks the extra two makes all the difference.

Sat 09:49 For those busting a gut to know, Louletano play in the Campeonato Nacional de Seniores H Division. Told you it was long.

The Club was founded in 1923 and seven games into this campaign finds itself third in the table. You're welcome.

Sat 09:51 Anyway, WRC 2 update. The battle for the lead between Nassir Al-Attiyah and Jari Ketomaa continues.

The latter boosted his lead by 1.4s on that stage and now holds a 6.1s advantage.

Sat 09:53 Back to Louletano, but for rallying purposes (ish). Here's the Estadio Algarve being used "properly" (according to DAVID EVANS) in 2009.

Look at that crowd. If the stadium's capacity was only 30,000, it would look sparse. Instead, it's a hive of activity.

Sat 09:55 We are onto SS9 now. Elfyn Evans kicks it off.

Sat 10:02 A momentary lull as we await some information to actually bring you! These longer runs are unkind to an as-it-happens service...

Sat 10:04 What we can tell you is Evans is running faster than Kubica after two splits, by about half a second, while Latvala is quicker - 2.5s up on Evans at the second checkpoint.

Sat 10:05 GP2 - Bahrain: Over in Bahrain, it's now time for the GP2 Series opener at Sakhir. Jolyon Palmer is on pole position for DAMS, but McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne pushed him hard in qualifying yesterday.

The big news overnight was Felipe Nasr's grid penalty, which has dropped the Williams F1 tester down to P11.

Sat 10:07 GP2 - Bahrain: Tyre degradation is going to the big issue in this race, and how long the soft-compound tyres will last in the heat of the desert. Air temperature is 27C with track temp at a whacking 54C.

Sat 10:09 GP2 - Bahrain: The frontrunners are all starting on the option tyre, which is the yellow sidewalled soft-compound. The hard tyre, which Pirelli thinks could actually run an entire race distance without issues, is being used by those towards the back of the grid, so expect some guys to run long, which always creates some traffic issues.

Sat 10:11 GP2 - Bahrain: The warm-up lap is underway, but without Simon Trummer who has stalled.

Sat 10:13 WRC - Portugal: We're approaching the end of Evans' run, so let's take a look at who is doing what on the stage.

Kubica is 2.7s down after four splits, while Latvala is almost 10s quicker at the same point.

Al Qassimi is well down, while Hanninen is a fraction quicker than Evans after two splits. Prokop's slower, but quicker than Al Qassimi, while Mikkelsen pops in through the first checkpoint a second quicker than Evans.

Sat 10:14 WRC - Portugal: Reports that Kubica, 20km into the stage, has stopped...

Sat 10:15 WRC - Portugal: Evans isn't massively happy after that run.

"Very very difficult and massive grip changes in there as well. We recced that stage in the worst possible conditions so with completely different notes I don't think that was very good for me."

Sat 10:15 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer gets wheelspin on pole, so it's Vandoorne who leads from Richelmi, Haryanto and Evans.

Sat 10:16 WRC - Portugal: Kubica has definitely stopped, because Latvala is the next man through.

Solberg, Neuville and Sordo have all started the stage. Only the latter is significantly quicker than Evans at the first split.

Sat 10:17 GP2 - Bahrain: End of lap one, and it's Vandoorne from Richelmi and Coletti, as Evans passes Haryanto for fourth at Turn 1. Palmer and Nasr are duelling for sixth.

Sat 10:19 WRC - Portugal: Evans' time was 23m44.5s. Latvala, now in, says Kubica has no damage but was stuck at the side of the road.

Sat 10:19 GP2 - Bahrain: Richelmi attacks leader Vandoorne at Turn 1 at the start of lap two. Behind them, Palmer is attacking Haryanto. Evans is the fastest man on track.

Rookie Axcil Jefferies has just crashed out in quite spectacular style. The safety car is deployed.

Sat 10:21 GP2 - Bahrain: Race order under the safety car is Vandoorne, Richelmi, Coletti, Evans, Haryanto, Palmer and Nasr.

Replays of the Jefferies crash show that he was punted by Kimiya Sato, and crashed into the wall at high speed.

Sat 10:22 WRC - Portugal: Everyone is on the stage now. Ogier is quicker than Tanak and Hirvonen, but only a fraction faster than the rally leader. It's so close!

Sat 10:24 WRC - Portugal: Latvala's time is the benchmark, of course, and that's 23m28.4s.

Juho Hanninen and Andreas Mikkelsen are both pushing the Finn quite hard through the splits.

Neuville's split times aren't electric, but Sordo is quicker.

Sat 10:24 GP2 - Bahrain: This safety car will eke out the laps that drivers will be able to stay on the soft-compound tyre. However, expect them to be pitting reasonably soon, in case of another safety car.

Jefferies apprears completely unhurt following that big scare. But his car was very badly damaged.

Sat 10:25 WRC - Portugal: Sordo is quick, but Ostberg is flying - he's 4s faster than Latvala at the second split. That's 2s faster than Ogier manages when he clocks in at that checkpoint!

We await similar split times for Tanak and Hirvonen.

Sat 10:26 WRC - Portugal: Hanninen 23m24.1s - 4.3s quicker than Latvala. Really good effort, that.

Sat 10:27 WRC - Portugal: This could be really, really close at the top. Mikkelsen is flying, Ostberg has started strongly - as have Ogier and Hirvonen.

Sat 10:27 GP2 - Bahrain: And we're racing again: Vandoorne leads them across the line for the restart on lap six.

Just a reminder of the top-10 race order: Vandoorne, Richelmi, Coletti, Evans, Haryanto, Palmer, Nasr, Leal, Cecotto and Abt.

The pitlane is open from this lap.

Sat 10:28 WRC - Portugal: We're now hearing that Kubica's car is back on the road - but he can't get the DS3 to fire up.

Sat 10:29 WRC - Portugal: Mikkelsen can't beat Hanninen! He drops time in the latter stages of that run and concedes he "lost the rhythm" in the middle of it.

Sat 10:31 WRC - Portugal: Mikkelsen ended up 3s slower than Hanninen.

Further back on the stage, and the Ostberg/Ogier/Tanak/Hirvonen fight rages on. They are comfortably the quickest guys running but there's almost nothing in it. Less than a second after three splits.

Sat 10:31 GP2 - Bahrain: As the pitstops kick off, second-placed Richelmi has lost a lot of track position. But DAMS team-mate Palmer has gained three positions.

Sat 10:32 WRC - Portugal: Not a happy Henning Solberg. He's quite a bit off the pace. Significantly slower than Evans.

Sat 10:32 WRC - Portugal: Hirvonen's lost ground at the third split, and is the slowest of that quartet right now.

Neuville comes in fourth quickest in 23m35.9s.

Sat 10:33 GP2 - Bahrain: Vandoorne is making hay out front, setting fastest lap on his soft tyres. Now he pits on lap nine.

Sat 10:34 GP2 - Bahrain: Great stop from Vandoorne, and he retains his virtual race lead. He's well clear of fellow stoppers Palmer, Leal, Haryanto, Coletti, Evans and Richelmi.

Sat 10:34 WRC - Portugal: Four splits in, and Hirvonen's dropping back. Ogier's moved into pole position to take stage honours though - he's almost three seconds faster than Tanak at the fourth checkpoint, who in turn has moved 2s clear of Ostberg.

Sat 10:35 WRC - Portugal: Sordo's in, a second quicker than Neuville.

Sat 10:37 WRC - Portugal: Ostberg comes in and, as expected, goes quickest with a time of 23m22.8s.

"It was quite OK, the first half maybe more. I'm a bit disappointed that Ogier is taking a lot of time."

Sat 10:37 WRC - Portugal: That Ogier is...he's almost 7s quicker at the fifth split. Tanak and Hirvonen can't keep up. A chance of rally leader surely beckons.

Sat 10:37 GP2 - Bahrain: New fastest lap from Palmer, which is impressive given that it's on the harder tyre. He is 2.2s behind Vandoorne.

Race leader is Berthon, but he's the first of the runners who started on the hard. Sato has been given a 10s stop/go penalty for the Jefferies accident.

Sat 10:38 WRC - Portugal: Ogier blitzes it - 23m10.2s.

Sat 10:38 WRC - Portugal: Ogier is as modest as ever. "Not a bad stage - we'll have to continue like that. It was completely fine."

Sat 10:39 GP2 - Bahrain: Ferrari junior Marciello is having a tough GP2 baptism, and has been caught speeding in the pitlane. He was already down in 22nd.

Sat 10:40 WRC - Portugal: Tanak comes through 12.9s slower than Ogier, and thus drops behind the world champion in the overall leaderboard.

We expect Hirvonen to do the same in a moment.

Sat 10:40 GP2 - Bahrain: The race order on lap 12 is Berthon, Daly and Binder, but the real race for the lead starts in eighth, as the top seven all started on the hard tyre.

Vandoorne leads Palmer by 1.4s, with Leal third.

Sat 10:42 WRC - Portugal: Tanak's rear anti-rollbar link is reportedly broken. Maybe that contributed to the sluggish end to the stage.

Sat 10:42 WRC - Portugal: Hirvonen is 8.7s slower than Ogier and we have a change of rally leader.

Sat 10:42 GP2 - Bahrain: Coletti passes Haryanto at Turn 1 for what will become fourth place. There's a 4s gap ahead to Leal.

Palmer has got the gap down to Vandoorne to 1.1s.

Sat 10:44 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer, who started from the pits, has just passed two drivers in one move through the opening corners, which elevates him to third on-the-road. Izawa and Binder were so busy battling they let him through!

Sat 10:45 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer has lost time to Vandoorne, the gap is out to 2s. He's now under pressure from Leal. Further back, Evans is now pressuring Haryanto for 'fifth'.

Sat 10:47 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer has now passed Daly for second, 3.8s off the lead. But remember this isn't the battle for the 'real' lead, that is happening from positions eight downwards.

Daly immediately pits for the soft tyre. That's going to be a long way to run on them.

Sat 10:48 WRC - Portugal - SS9 results:

1 Ogier
2 Hirvonen +8.7s
3 Ostberg +12.6s
4 Tanak +12.9s
5 Hanninen +13.9s
6 Mikkelsen +16.9s

Overall leaderboard:

1 Ogier 2h00m45.3s
2 Hirvonen +2.4s
3 Tanak +11.0s
4 Ostberg +32.8s
5 Sordo +49.1s
6 Neuville +1m12.8s

Sat 10:49 WRC - Portugal: Game on. That is all. And we're almost ready to go straight onto Malhao, which is a slightly shorter 22.15km stage.

Sat 10:49 GP2 - Bahrain: Berthon pits from the lead, almost crashing into Trummer who was trying to pass him!

Sat 10:52 GP2 - Bahrain: Cecotto, the enfant terrible of GP2 despite being its most experience driver, has been given a drivethrough penalty for an earlier incident with Pic in which he exceeded track limits and passed the Frenchman.

Sat 10:53 GP2 - Bahrain: Berthon's race has gone from bad to worse, a dreadful pitstop and now he's got a loose wheel.

Vandoorne is now passing the hard-compound starters, easing past Markelov. He is 2s clear of Palmer, who still has Leal for a shadow.

Sat 10:56 GP2 - Bahrain: Markelov has delayed Leal quite substantially there, allowing Palmer to get clear. Remember, this is a battle for position but Markelov, pacewise, is a backmarker.

Sat 10:58 GP2 - Bahrain: Only Trummer remains out front as a hard-tyre starter, with true leader Vandoorne up to second, ahead of Palmer, Leal, Coletti, Haryanto and Evans.

Fair play to Trummer, he's lapping very competitively.

Sat 10:58 GP2 - Bahrain: Lovely move from Pic on Richelmi there for ninth. Great return for Campos Racing.

Sat 10:59 WRC - Portugal: Before SS10 gets underway, here's a recap of this morning's running:

* Ogier went quickest on the morning-opening SS8 run before leapfrogging Tanak and Hirvonen in one go on SS9

* Hirvonen limits the damage on the latter stage but drops to 2.7s behind the world champion

* Kubica stops on the stage after rolling out yesterday

Sat 11:00 GP2 - Bahrain: After his disasters, Berthon is now the fastest man on track. This bodes well for Trummer, if he can do likewise there are points in this for him.

Pic is now attacking Evans, and he's passed him at Turn 11. Superb stuff.

Sat 11:03 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer has closed the gap to Vandoorne to 1.4s. But Trummer has just driven a terrible lap - he really should pit for the softs NOW.

Pic passes Haryanto at Turn 11, the same move he pulled on Evans. This is hugely impressive!

Sat 11:04 WRC - Portugal: Malhao has begun - Evans a couple of minutes into the stage.

Sat 11:05 GP2 - Bahrain: The drivers who started on hard tyres are now having a huge impact, outpacing those who started on the soft. Quaife-Hobbs is up to eighth and Izawa is flying too.

Why is Rapax leaving Trummer out? He could be doing this too!

Sat 11:08 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer still stays out, unfathomably, and will stop on the last lap of the race, with Vandoorne poised to inherit victory.

Sat 11:09 WRC - Portugal: No data to bring you from the stage yet (thanks, WRC live timing) but we're hearing that Evan's is about three-quarters of the way into the stage.

Sat 11:10 GP2 - Bahrain: Leal is attacking Palmer hard for what will become second place. He passes him at Turn 1 with a great outbraking move. He's almost 3s down on Vandoorne.

Sat 11:11 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer finally stops from the lead. Now he only has two laps of soft-tyre maximum attack to play with.

Sat 11:13 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer rejoins in ninth, and is closing in on eighth-placed Quaife-Hobbs, who is all over Nasr.

Sat 11:16 GP2 - Bahrain: Vandoorne wins the opening race of the year at Bahrain, 1.5s ahead of Leal. The battle for third goes to Palmer despite a late-race attack from Coletti.

Pic is fifth on his series debut, from Izawa and the charging Trummer - why didn't he pit a few laps earlier? He could have been on the podium for sure. But, still, not a bad job from starting in the pitlane!

Sat 11:17 GP2 - Bahrain: Nasr finishes eighth and will start Sunday's sprint race from pole position. Binder and Quaife-Hobbs rounded out the top 10, as the likes of Evans and Haryanto suffered dreadful second stints.

Sat 11:17 WRC - Portugal: Confirmation that Kubica has retired. After finally getting his car out of the ditch he slid into, the recovery effort broke the clutch. Disaster.

Sat 11:18 WRC - Portugal: Meanwhile, we have a time from Evans. It's 14m08.9s.

Sat 11:18 WRC - Portugal: Latvala then comes through 10.8s quicker from Evans.

Sat 11:20 GP2 - Bahrain: Well, well. Vandoorne makes GP2 look easy, winning on his debut. Not many people can ever say they've done that. Superb execution, right from the start and a perfect race strategy from ART Grand Prix.

Sat 11:23 WRC - Portugal: Half a dozen cars or so on the stage. Mikkelsen is quicker than Latvala through the first split. Neither of those two have troubled the sharp end of the times this morning.

Sat 11:26 Stoffel Vandoorne on his GP2 victory: "Thanks to the safety car we could run longer on the soft tyres, but I still pitted early. I just managed the gap after that. It was a race of tyre management."

Sat 11:31 WRC - Portugal: While we wait for some serious times, let's have a look at the splits - and Ogier is looking good. He's faster than Tanak. No time for Hirvonen there yet.

Sat 11:32 WRC - Portugal: Of the drivers to have completed the stage, Mikkelsen came closest to removing his team-mate from top spot but fell slightly short.

Hanninen, Solberg, Prokop and Al Qassimi are also on the leaderboard.

Sat 11:33 WRC - Portugal: Hirvonen's dropped a second to Ogier at the first split. Is the rally moving away from the Finn?

Sat 11:35 WRC - Portugal: Reports that Tanak has stopped on stage...

Sat 11:35 WRC - Portugal: Hirvonen rallies (pun-tastic) and pulls the deficit to Ogier on this stage to just 0.4s at the second split.

Sat 11:37 WRC - Portugal: Tanak is blocking the road - so Hirvonen is stuck.

Sat 11:40 WRC - Portugal: Hirvonen and the WRC 2 runners have made their way past Tanak's stricken car now - though Ketomaa has somehow got ahead of Mikko.

You'd imagine they'll be awarded some standard times though, so no sense getting caught up with another.

Sat 11:42 WRC - Portugal: "A good morning for us," says Ogier as he brings his VW through in 14m00.0s - so Latvala's quickest!

Ostberg and the two Hyundais, by the way, also fell short of Latvala's early benchmark.

Sat 11:42 WRC - Portugal: We'd bring you results for that stage, but that seems a little pointless given Tanak's off and us not knowing how Hirvonen will receive due recompense for the delay.

Sat 12:01 While we wait for news on the Hirvonen situation, RCL will take a short break. We will be back in full service in about two hours, though our man-on-the-ground DAVID EVANS will filter in the best bits from the service park.

Sat 13:34 We have received confirmation that those who were stuck behind Tanak's stricken Ford Fiesta R5 on the previous stage have received notional times. Hirvonen was given the same time as Ogier and the gap between the two remains at 2.4s.

OgierSat 13:35 Here's our midday report for those looking for a recap as to what has happened on the Rally of Portugal this morning:

button Ogier retakes lead from Mikko Hirvonen

Sat 13:47 We have 73km of action ahead of us this afternoon, with the second pass through Santa Clara kicking things off again at 15:00.

JMLSat 13:52 Our rally newshound DAVID EVANS has unveiled an unpleasant situation that is currently escalating between the teams and the WRC promoter.

Drivers have been requested not to talk to television crews during this weekend's event. Why? You'll have to click the following link and find out...

buttonWRC drivers ordered not to talk to TV crews

Sat 14:02 Evans is onto SS11 and we're up and running again Portugal.

Sat 14:04 Ogier was quickest on this test this morning, beating Hirvonen by 0.2s with his time of 12m23.0s.

Sat 14:06 Latvala is 0.8s up on Evans's time at the first split.

busSat 14:11 As reported by AUTOSPORT, the manufacturers and the WRC Promoter are meeting to try solve the current impasse. And this is where they're meeting.

Right now, right at this moment - the future of the WRC is being discussed upstairs in this bus.

Sat 14:13 Hanninen and Mikkelsen are now in the stage, while Evans arrives at the end in 12m24.5s.

Sat 14:15 And here comes Latvala, who was slightly slower than Evans at the final split...

Sat 14:17 The Finn is about 6s slower than Evans! He says he began to suffer a deflation 10km into the stage and incurred a slow puncture. His time: 12m30.5s.

Sat 14:20 Mikkelsen, Solberg and Neuville are up on Evans's first split time... but here comes Hanninen, with a puncture! That's his third of the weekend.

Sat 14:23 Eighth place Prokop arrives at the finish in 12m37.5s. He's running on the hard compound tyre this afternoon while those ahead of him are running on the softer option.

Sat 14:23 Engine-related issue for Mikkelsen? He lost 26.8s at the final split.

Sat 14:25 The VW driver crosses the finish in a rather slow time of 13m08.2s. The problem?

"Power steering! I lost it in the stage - I'm not entering the 'Strong Man Competition'!"

Sat 14:26 Solberg goes quickest with a time of 12m22.7s.

Sat 14:28 Neuville crosses the finish in his Hyundai i20 and does so in 12m12.9s to set a new benchmark time.

Sat 14:29 Team-mate Sordo isn't as quick, setting a time of 12m17.6s.

Sat 14:33 And here comes Ostberg who is very much in contention for a podium finish this weekend. The Norweigan's time is 2.7s slower than Neuville's.

Sat 14:35 Rally leader Ogier arrives at the finish after flying - not literally, of course - through the stage. His time: 12m04.7s!

Was going on the soft tyre a good idea?

"We're going to see at the end of the loop..." says the reigning champion.

Sat 14:36 Which also means the Polo R WRC has notched up 200 stage wins since its return!

Sat 14:36 Not that Hirvonen will be celebrating, as he finishes Santa Clara 7.4s behind Ogier.

Sat 14:39 SS11 results: 1 Ogier 12m04.7s; 2 Hirvonen +7.4s; 3 Neuville +8.2s; 4 Ostberg +10.9s; 5 Sordo +12.9s; 6 Solberg +18.0s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 2h26m50s; 2 Hirvonen +9.8s; 3 Ostberg +45.8s; 4 Sordo +1m05.3s; 5 Neuville +1m28.3s; 6 Solberg +3m18.9s.

Sat 14:44 Next up is the 31.90km Santana de Serra stage, which is being tackled in the opposite direction this year. It gets underway at 15:55.

Sat 14:52 We've just been fiddling with our abacus and we reckon that 200th stage win means the VW Polo R has won 65% of all the stages it has competed in since its debut last year. Impressive stuff.

Sat 14:58 Santana de Serra is up and running. It's a long stage - the longest of the event, no less - so it'll be a while before drivers reach the finish line.

To give you a rough idea how long it will be, Ogier completed it this morning in 23m10.2s, ahead Hirvonen and Ostberg.

Sat 15:06 Latvala is 0.1s and 2.4s up on Evans at the first and second split respectively.

Sat 15:11 Al-Qassimi and Hanninen are struggling to keep up with the pace through this test - the former is 20.5s behind Evans at the second split, the latter 9.0s.

Sat 15:12 Latvala, meanwhile, looks poised to beat whatever Evans will do as the Finn is a good 2.4s quicker through splits two and three.

Sat 15:16 Neuville is quickest of all at the first split as he begins to make his way through SS11. Still waiting for our first finisher to arrive (Evans).

Sat 15:20 The official WRC Twitter account has just posted a picture of Tanak's damaged Fiesta RS WRC and it doesn't make for pleasant viewing:

"Great photo of Tanak's Fiesta RS WRC after his off this morning!! @rallydeportugal #WRC pic.twitter.com/ucE2UVMhXK"

Sat 15:21 Away from social media, Evans completes the stage in 23m18.7s.

Sat 15:23 Latvala is through in 23m18.3s. Sounds like he's ruing his tyre decision this afternoon:

"It's so damp on the ground and the temperature is not high enough for these (hard) tyres."

Sat 15:25 Frontrunners are now all in the stage. Neuville appears to be going well and is 1.5s quicker than Ogier at the second split.

Sat 15:31 Times for SS12 so far: 1 Latvala 23m18.3s; 2 Evans +0.4s; 3 Hanninen 21.9s; 4 Prokop +53.3s.

Sat 15:33 All eyes on Neuville, who lost 22.6 by the fifth split. Possible puncture?

Sat 15:35 The Belgian appears to be trundling towards the finish. He was running in fifth overall before this mishap (whatever that might be).

Sat 15:36 And he's arrived at the finish. Looks like a broken suspension on the Hyundai I20, which has subsequently shredded a rear tyre.

"I hit something," he says. "I can drive, everything is still working."

Er, how?!!

Sat 15:38 Neuville lost 2m07.5s in total with his issue.

Sat 15:39 Team-mate Sordo had less of a torrid time and arrives at the finish 12.0s slower than Latvala's best.

Sat 15:40 Ostberg slots into third place with 23m26.2s. That'll surely be fourth once Ogier arrives...

Sat 15:42 ...and here comes the reigning champion, with a time of 23m00.6s to go quickest!

"It's difficult," said Ogier. "Not so muddy like this morning. We pushed a little bit more at the end."

And Hirvonen is 11 slower!

Sat 15:45 SS 12 results: 1 Ogier 23m00.6s; 2 Hirvonen +11,0s; 3 Latvala +17.7s; 4 Evans +18.1s; 5 Ostberg +25.6s; 6 Sordo +4.1s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 2h49m50.6s; 2 Hirvonen +20.8s; 3 Ostberg +1m11.4s; 4 Sordo +1m35.0s; 5 Neuville +3m53.5s; 6 Solberg +4m02.7s.

Sat 15:50 Hirvonen doesn't sound too confident of clawing back the 20.8s deficit to Ogier.

"The tyres are completely gone," he said at the finish of SS12. "He (Ogier) is just running away and I can't do anything about it."

Sat 16:02 Malhao is our final stage of the day and Evans should be making his way into it at 17:05. That's in three minutes, if you don't know what time it is at the moment (buy a watch, eh?).

Sat 16:13 Malhao is a 22.15km test which Latvala went quickest on this morning. The VW driver completed it in 13m58.1s, ahead of team-mate Ogier. Hirvonen was given the same time as Ogier after Tanak blocked his path with his mid-stage mishap.

Sat 16:16 Split times are - rather slowly - coming in. Latvala is 4.6s up on Evans at the 8km interval.

Sat 16:20 While we wait for the WRC drivers to arrive at the finish, we'll bring you up to speed on what's going on in WRC2.

Well, Nasser Al-Attiyah won SS12 and stole the overall lead from Jari Ketomaa. The Qatari driver is making his WRC season debut in Portugal this weekend.

The difference between them is a slender 2.9s.

Sat 16:21 Evans completes the stage in 14m06.8s.

Sat 16:22 Latvala is up next and is 13.0s quicker than Evans!

Sat 16:24 Neuville is onto SS13 and this is going to be a painful experience for the Belgian who'll need to nurse his Hyundai i20 to the finish.

Sat 16:26 AUTOSPORT understands the drivers will be talking to WRC TV at the end of the stage. Agreement on this point has been reached during the meeting between manufacturers and the WRC Promoter.

Sat 16:28 Neuville's split times don't make for pleasant viewing. He's 21.9s and 42.4s off the pace in the first and second splits respectively. He'll lose fifth place to Solberg at this rate.

Sat 16:30 Ostberg is 2.0s quicker than Sordo at the first interval.

Sat 16:32 Latvala continues to lead the way in SS13, 13.0s ahead of Evans and 35.1s in front of Prokop.

Sat 16:33 Mikkelsen finishes in 14m07.4s - 13.6s off Latvala's best.

Sat 16:34 Going from bad to worse for Neuville, who has allowed Sordo to pass him mid-stage.

Sat 16:37 Ogier is 1.9s quicker than team-mate Latvala through the second split. Will Hirvonen be able to claw back the 20.8s deficit?

Sat 16:38 Maybe not. The Finn has lost 6.8s to Ogier at the 12.20km interval.

Sat 16:40 Sordo's time is 7.1s slower than Latvala's and the Spaniard slots into second place on SS13. Just waiting for Ogier and Hirvonen to arrive...

Sat 16:42 New best time is set by... (drum roll) Ogier! He flies through the finish in 13m49.2s.

Sat 16:43 And Hirvonen? He's 12.0s down at the final split, so he's unlikely to make a dent in Ogier's overall lead.

Sat 16:43 And he doesn't, losing 17.3s on that stage alone.

Sat 16:47 SS13 results: 1 Ogier 13m49.2s; 2 Latvala +4.6s; 3 Sordo +11.7s; 4 Ostberg +15.3s; 5 Hirvonen +17.3s; 6 Evans +17.6s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 3h03m39.9s; 2 Hirvonen +38.1s; 3 Ostberg +1m26.7s; 4 Sordo +1m46.7s; 5 Solberg +4m29.9s; 6 Mikkelsen +4m44.8s.

Sat 16:49 There's only three stages tomorrow, covering less than 44km, so it's going to take a minor miracle for Hirvonen to make up the best part of 40s.

We'll be back for the first of Sunday's stages, which is the first pass through Loule at 08:50.

See you then, rally fans!

Sun 07:40 Good morning and welcome to the final day of the 2014 Rally of Portugal.

Sun 07:41 Sad news for Sordo fans this morning as the Spaniard has been forced to retire on a road section to the first stage of the day. Early reports suggest it is a broken driveshaft.

Sun 07:43 His misfortune moves Solberg up the order to fourth, with Mikkelsen just 4.9s behind in fifth.

Sun 07:43 Today is a much shorter day with three stages closer to Faro, covering less than 44km.

Loule is used twice, the second pass forming the live TV powerstage with bonus points for the fastest three drivers.

Sun 07:43 The event then finishes at the rally’s Algarve Stadium base, pictures of which you can find if you scroll a little down this web page.

OgierSun 07:44 Ogier dominated day three of the event, winning five of the six gravel stages and giving himself a 38.1 advantage at the top of the leaderboard.

His nearest rival Hirvonen rued not running on the hard compound tyre yesterday afternoon as his Michelin rubber was down the canvas when the day drew to a close.

Ostberg currently lies in third position after inheriting Ott Tanak’s podium place when the Estonian rolled his Fiesta RS in the morning.

Ogier increases lead over Hirvonen

Sun 07:45 One man we definitely won’t be seeing today is Kubica after he experienced his second crash of the event during yesterday’s action.

We reckon that since his WRC debut on last year’s Rally GB the ex-F1 driver has had at least 10 shunts…

button Kubica retires after second crash

Sun 07:48 The first stage went live a lot earlier than everybody was expecting. We thought Evans would be departing at 08:50, but things appear to have been shifted 15 minutes forward.

The Welshman completes SS13 in 9m12.8s.

Sun 07:50 Latvala is next through and and goes 15.0s quicker than Evans.

Sun 07:56 Neuville completes the opening stage of the final day 8.5 slower than Latvala. Hanninen, meanwhile, had an encounter with a tree and completed Loule 56.6 off the ultimate pace.

Sun 07:59 Solberg was set a quick time through the first split - almost equal to Latvala - but trailed off in the second.

Sun 08:00 The popular Norwegian posts a rather slow time 9m18.4s. The reason?

"I have to fix something - a small adjustment, or something."

Sun 08:02 We suspect it's a rear suspension problem for Solberg. Not that he was letting on of course...

Sun 08:05 Hirvonen goes fifth quickest with a time of 9m11.5s.

Sun 08:07 Latvala still leads the stage while we wait for his VW team-mate to arrive.

Sun 08:08 And we didn't have to wait long. Ogier's time is 8.6s slower as the reigning champion admits he's looking after his tyres this morning.

Sun 08:11 SS14 results: 1 Latvala 8m57.8s; 2 Ostberg +3.8s; 3 Mikkelsen +8.4s; 4 Neuville +8.5s; 5 Ogier +8.6s; 6 Hirvonen +13.7s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 3h12m46.2s; 2 Hirvonen +43.2s; 3 Ostberg +1m21.9s; 4 Solberg +4m41.9s; 5 Mikkelsen +4m44.6s; 6 Neuville +7m31.3s.

Sun 08:15 The penultimate stage of the event is S. Bras de Alportel and gets going at 09:30.

Sun 08:16 Meanwhile, we're pleased to report that the WRC teams have have settled their disagreement with the sport’s promoter and the drivers are now talking to the television crews again.

button WRC teams settle TV row

Sun 08:23 Sordo's retirement has certainly made life a bit easier for Ostberg, who is now 3m20s ahead of Solberg in fourth. The Citroen driver has altered his strategy accordingly, saying he now wants to give himself the best chance of bagging three bonus points on the final stage.

"There's no pressure now," said the Norweigan at the end of SS14. "I just took it steady to save the tyres and we'll do the same on the next one so we're ready to push for the powerstage."

Sun 08:27 The closest battle at the moment is between Solberg and Mikkelsen with just 2.7s separating them in their fight for fourth, so that'll definitely be something to keep an eye on during the next stage.

Sun 08:33 Evans is onto the penultimate stage, which is 16.21km in distance.

Sun 08:36 The Welshman's time at the first split - located 3.5km into the stage - is 2m36.7s

Sun 08:38 Latvala is 0.6s down on Evans at the first interval.

Sun 08:42 The Finn has readdressed the balance and is 0.7s up by the second interval.

Sun 08:44 Evans completes the stage in 11m58.2s

"The last 4km here was very wet in places," he says. "It was not easy to pick your places where you could and couldn't lean on the car."

Sun 08:47 Latvala sets a time of 11m52.9s and admits he has his eyes on the final stage of the event.

"This test we tried to take very carefully," he said. "I think we managed to save the tyres (for the powerstage)."

Sun 08:49 Al Qassimi is next to post a time - 12m35.2s.

Sun 08:51 Neuville safely through SS15 and does it 8.3s slower than Latvala.

"Very tricky in there," he admitted. "I had to be extra careful in the muddy section."

Sun 08:52 Hanninen is the next driver to cross the finishing line - 9.1s off Latvala's ultimate pace.

Sun 08:55 Looks like Prokop has had a brush with something within the stage as his front left tyre is massively down on pressure at the finish. His time is 12m16.0s.

Sun 08:56 Mikkelsen through in 11m48.4s - the fastest so far!

Sun 08:59 Solberg's time is 11m59.8s, which means Mikkelsen is now into fourth place overall.

Sun 09:02 Ostberg sets the quickest time on SS15 - 11m38.7s! We now wait for the arrival of Hirvonen and Ogier...

Sun 09:03 "It was OK," said Ostberg. "I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun.

We bet you did!

Sun 09:05 Ogier looks to have been losing a bit of time in the stage due to his tyre choice. Hirvonen, meanwhile, completes the stage in 11m52.5s.

Sun 09:06 And the reigning champion's time? 13.8s slower than Ostberg.

Sun 09:09 SS15 results: 1 Ostberg 11m38.7s; 2 Hirvonen +6.0s; 3 Mikkelsen +9.7s; 4 Ogier +13.8s; 5 Latvala +14.2s; 6 Evans +19.5s.

Overall: 1 Ogier 3h24m38.7s; 2 Hirvonen +35.4s; 3 Ostberg +1m08.1s; 4 Mikkelsen +4m40.5s; 5 Solberg +4m49.2s; 6 Neuville +7m40.0s.

Sun 09:16 The final stage is the second pass through Loule and begins at 11:05.

Sun 09:23 There is a new rule in place for this weekend's powerstage event.

All driver are now eligible to score points in it following controversy over the scoring system in Mexico last month.

Sun 09:24 Ostberg and Mikkelsen both retired on the Saturday and restarted Sunday's leg under Rally 2 rules, but regulations meant they were unable to score points in the final powerstage.

Sun 09:24 Both were frustrated that drivers who retired in Friday's leg were able to score.

Indeed, Hirvonen, whose Ford Fiesta RS was sidelined with alternator problems on the Friday, returned to take the final bonus point.

Sun 09:25 The recent WRC Commission meeting in Paris proposed the rules be changed to allow all returning drivers to score.

Sun 09:34 In WRC2 news, Lorenzo Bertelli has gone all politically correct.

His F*ckmatie team has become the even stranger-named Fnckmatie...

Sun 09:52 The starting order for the powerstage is slightly different to the previous stages. It looks like this:

1 Evans
2 Latvala
3 Al Qassimi
4 Hanninen
5 Prokop
6 Neuville
7 Solberg
8 Mikkelsen
9 Ostberg
10 Hirvonen
11 Ogier

Sun 10:05 And the powerstage is live!

Sun 10:10 Latvala needs to keep scoring points if he is to keep his championship hopes alive. Three points today is an absolute must for the Finn.

Sun 10:14 Latvala completed this stage in 8m57.8s this morning. Evans sets a benchmark of 8m59.2 this time around.

Sun 10:17 And Latvala smashes Evans's time by 14.2s!

Sun 10:18 "It was very good stage," says the VW driver. "I was happy. It was a good run."

Sun 10:19 Al Qassimi is the third to tackle this final stage. He was 17.3s down on Evans's second split time.

Sun 10:21 And he inevitably slots into third position - 36.3s behind Latvala.

Sun 10:24 Hanninen's Hyundai crosses the line and finishes 14.4s off Latvala's time.

Sun 10:26 Prokop's final effort is 22.8s down on Latvala.

Sun 10:28 Neuville is winding his way through the stage and is 31.0s off the pace at the 10.0km split.

Sun 10:29 The Belgian's car looks a right handful and seems to be lacking traction.

Sun 10:31 "Something on the transmission is broken and I had to run in rear wheel drive only," says Neuville at the end. He finished 49.0s behind Latvala.

Sun 10:34 Mikkelsen is going well through SS16 and is 5.8s quicker than Solberg after the first two splits.

Sun 10:37 Mikkelsen is 6.7s behind Latvala to go provisional second.

Sun 10:38 Ostberg is a second down on Latvala on the last split, can he pull something out of the bag in the final few kilometres?

Sun 10:41 Ostberg reaches the finish in 8m46.0s - exactly 1.0s behind Latvala. The Norweigan can be very happy with his performance this weekend and a podium finish is a deserving reward.

Sun 10:43 Hirvonen is 3.8s slower than Latvala at the second split. Ogier, meanwhile, is quickest of all at the first interval...

Sun 10:45 Hirvonen's time is 8m49.5s and the M-Sport driver finishes second overall.

"I'm really happy with that, it was good to have a rally with no problems."

Sun 10:45 And now all eyes on Ogier...

Sun 10:46 He's 2.4s quicker than Latvala through the final split!

OgierSun 10:48 And Ogier wins the powerstage and the Rally or Portugal!

Sun 10:49 SS16 stage results: 1 Ogier 8m41.7s; 2 Latvala +3.3s; 3 Ostberg +4.3s; 4 Hirvonen +7.8s; 5 Mikkelsen +10.0s

Sun 10:51 And the final results of the Rally of Portugal:

1 Ogier 3h33m20.4s; 2 Hirvonen +43.2s; 3 Ostberg +1m12.4s; 4 Mikkelsen +4m50.5s; 5 Solberg +5m10.2s; 6 Prokop +8m27.2s

Sun 11:07 With the 2014 Rally of Portugal consigned to the history books we turn our attention to the island kingdom of Bahrain, and the GP2 Series sprint race.

Stoffel Vandoorne scored a remarkable victory on his series debut yesterday, so will start eighth on the reversed-grid line-up for ART Grand Prix.

Carlin's Felipe Nasr starts on pole and will be looking to kickstart his title campaign after a disappointing run yesterday. He finished second in this race last year, just 0.08s behind Sam Bird.

Sun 11:10 GP2 - Bahrain: So here's the starting order for the sprint race: 1 Nasr, 2 Trummer, 3 Izawa, 4 Pic, 5 Coletti, 6 Palmer, 7 Leal, 8 Vandoorne, 9 Binder, 10 Quaife-Hobbs.

Sun 11:13 GP2 - Bahrain: Problem for Vandoorne on the grid! His access cover above the pedals flew off on the warm-up lap on the run to Turn 4. Mechanics are taping over it, but the stewards might be interested in that...

Sun 11:15 GP2 - Bahrain: Everybody is starting this race on the prime hard Pirelli tyre. It's going to be tough to be consistent, as we saw some cars suffer huge degradation issues yesterday.

The warm-up lap is now underway. Air temperature is 28C, track temp is 51C. Hot stuff indeed.

Sun 11:20 GP2 - Bahrain: Nasr makes a poor start, so Trummer leads Palmer and Leal.

Sun 11:21 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer leads Palmer, Leal, Quaife-Hobbs, Nasr, Pic and Binder. Quite a lot of cars made poor starts, including Vandoorne who has dropped to 11th.

Coletti stalled on the grid and is only just rejoining the race.

Sun 11:34 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer and Trummer are setting almost identical laptimes out front, the gap just 0.6s between them, with Leal also keeping them honest. Quaife-Hobbs and Nasr are cruising at a good distance behind them, although Nasr has Pic on his case.

Yesterday's winner Vandoorne is 23rd after a pitstop for a new nosecone after he clashed with de Jong.

Sun 11:37 GP2 - Bahrain: Laptimes are dropping away now that drivers are pacing themselves as we approach half distance. There should still be some drama in this race yet.

Palmer has extended his lead to 0.9s, with a similar gap back between Trummer and Leal.

Sun 11:38 GP2 - Bahrain: Fastest man on the track here is Evans, who has risen up from 14th to 8th in his Russian Time car. He is closing on Richelmi.

Sun 11:41 GP2 - Bahrain: Battle most likely to explode is this Nasr, Pic and Richelmi train, which is being caught by Evans.

A battle that already has burst into life is being won by Evans's team-mate Markelov, who has just passed Izawa and Daly for 11th.

Sun 11:42 GP2 - Bahrain: Now there's a monster duel for 15th! A four-car battle has been won by Abt, ahead of Berthon and Cecotto. Marciello was the victim, and appears to have a problem.

Sun 11:44 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer is being told to save his tyres, and has a 0.8s advantage over Trummer. Leal has dropped away a little in third.

Sun 11:46 GP2 - Bahrain: Into the last eight laps, the question is who hasn't looked after their tyres enough? Can Palmer hold on? Trummer has the gap down to 0.6s.

Sun 11:48 GP2 - Bahrain: Daly's car has gone sick, after running over a turning vane from a car in front. Possibly picked up a puncture.

Sun 11:49 GP2 - Bahrain: Good lap for Palmer, who extends his lead to 0.9s. Leal continues to close on Trummer. Expect a battle for second soon.

Sun 11:50 GP2 - Bahrain: If he holds on, Palmer will overtake Vandoorne for the lead of the championship. Points for pole position and fastest lap yesterday have helped offset that dreadful start from pole that cost him his big chance of victory.

Sun 11:51 GP2 - Bahrain: "If you want to win this race you have to attack now," Trummer is told. Would have through that was pretty obvious, no?

Sun 11:51 GP2 - Bahrain: Nasr has raised his pace, and is right with Quaife-Hobbs for fourth.

Sun 11:52 GP2 - Bahrain: Last five laps, expect it to kick-off from here as drivers seek to exhaust their tyre life.

Sun 11:54 GP2 - Bahrain: Only 1.3s covers the top three as we go into the endgame of this race. The battle for fourth is also now a five-car train. Fireworks?

Sun 11:54 GP2 - Bahrain: Nasr attacks Quaife-Hobbs at Turn 4, who is struggling with a lack of grip. Can he pass him, though?

Sun 11:55 GP2 - Bahrain: Nasr passes Quaife-Hobbs at the final corner to take fourth place.

Sun 11:56 GP2 - Bahrain: Quaife-Hobbs passes him back at Turn 1! Nasr gets him back at Turn 4. What a scrap!

Sun 11:57 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer holds a 0.8s lead with two laps to go.

Sun 11:58 GP2 - Bahrain: Richelmi passes Pic at Turn 8 with an agricultural move, a NASCAR-style bump-and-run. Yee-haw!

Sun 12:00 GP2 - Bahrain: Jolyon Palmer wins the sprint race, by 0.8s from Trummer and Leal. Nasr finishes fourth, and Richelmi grabbed fifth from Quaife-Hobbs on the very last lap at Turn 11.

Sun 12:01 GP2 - Bahrain: Your finishing order is thus: 1 Palmer, 2 Trummer, 3 Leal, 4 Nasr, 5 Richelmi, 6 Quaife-Hobbs, 7 Evans, 8 Binder.

Sun 12:09 GP2 - Bahrain: The drivers receive their trophies and spray the rose water after a tough, tough race.

Sun 12:11 GP2 - Bahrain: Palmer: "First to sixth in one lap yesterday, and today was the reverse, sixth to first. My start was really good today, and then it was a case of managing the race. I'm really happy with the job we did."

Sun 12:12 GP2 - Bahrain: Trummer: "Yesterday the race pace was amazing, and today I led from P2 but Jolyon was quicker than me at the beginning. I just kept the pace, I couldn't give any more."

Sun 12:13 GP2 - Bahrain: Leal: "It's amazing, it's incredible to start the season with two podiums. I was just keeping the pace today, I wasn't able to overtake."

Sun 12:15 So that's race two of GP2 2014 in the book, and that's it from us today on AUTOSPORT Live for a while until the grand prix build up begins in the next couple of hours. Join us then.

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