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RallyRACC-Rally de Espana

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00:00:00 (UTC +2)

26°C79°F
Salou
SS7 Terra Alta 2 (gravel & asphalt) (35.68 km)

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Pos # Piloto Tiempo Dif Ant. Dif 1

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Pos # Piloto Tiempo Dif Ant. Dif 1

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Fri 17:34 - Want to watch the transformation?
Watch the cars change from gravel to asphalt spec before your eyes with our WRC live stream.

Fri 17:29 - That's all from today's stages
We'll resume our live text service at 0900hrs on Saturday - in time for the 3.96km asphalt Tivissa stage. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news section for the latest from Salou. Adiós for now.

Fri 17:25 - End of day press conference
The top three drivers and team managers will give their thoughts at 1800hrs (local). We'll show the whole thing on the WRC live stream

Fri 17:22 - Up next: Service
Crews are returning to Salou for a 75-minute service during which the cars will be transformed from gravel to asphalt spec.

Fri 17:12 - WRC2 top 5 after SS7
1. Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta RRC): 1:33:54.4s, 2. Maurin (Ford Fiesta R5): +2:00.4s, 3. Barrable (Ford Fiesta R5): +4:27.5s, 4. Guerra (Mitsubishi Lancer): +4:51.0s, 5. Kruuda (Ford Fiesta S2000): +22:54.7s

Fri 16:58 - SS7: Julien Maurin
The Frenchman ends the day second in WRC2, trailing leader Nasser Al-Attiyah by 2m00.4s. "Today was very difficult, and in there we had a blocked throttle so I know we can do better. I'm looking forward to the asphalt tomorrow."

Fri 16:52 - SS7: Painful run for Barrable
But with the problems for Chardonnet and Fuchs he could be up to third in class. "I lost power steering for the whole stage so needless to say my arms are f***ed."

Fri 16:48 - SS7: WRC2 update
Fuchs out with a damaged radiator. Chardonnet restarted, but has stopped again 3km from the stage end.

Fri 16:37 - SS7: Chardonnet stopped
He was second in WRC2...

Fri 16:34 - SS7: Fuchs stopped
The Peruvian was third in WRC2

Fri 16:32 - WRC top 5 after SS7
1. Ogier (VW): 1:29:04.0s, 2. Latvala (VW): 36.6s, 3. Ostberg (Citroen): +37.2s, 4. Mikkelsen (VW): +37.3s, 5. Hirvonen (Ford): +41.4s

Fri 16:24 - SS7 Key points
Neuville’s push for the lead ends when he slides wide, hits something and loses 2m20s changing a tyre. He drops to ninth. A perplexed Latvala is up to second, but 36sec behind runaway stage winner Ogier. Ostberg was held up when he caught Neuville’s dust cloud. He holds third, 0.6sec behind Latvala. Spins for Kubica and Paddon.

Fri 16:18 - SS7: Spin for Kubica
"It has been a good day but I had a spin here in a narrow section. The rear tyres are completely gone. In a long corner the rear stepped out and I couldn't get enough opposite lock on to correct it."

Fri 16:16 - SS7: Hayden Paddon
“This stage doesn’t like me. In three years we’ve never had a clean run. This time we had a full spin and had to do a four-point turn. Near the end we got a puncture and I think we’ve damaged the suspension. We’re still learning though. Moving in the right direction.“

Fri 16:12 - SS7: Dani Sordo
The Spaniard is fifth fastest and keen to get onto asphalt tomorrow. "The stage was really good. Maybe I'm too far away to catch the leaders tomorrow. Let's see."

Fri 16:05 - SS7: Mads Ostberg
"We were stuck in the dust behind Neuville's car - we were less than one minute behind. Our luck continues like it always does..." Ostberg completes 19.3sec slower than Ogier.

Fri 16:03 - SS7: Thierry Neuville
His car completes with right-hand rear bodywork damage and the wheel running out of alignment. "I got distracted by dust in the car, it was full of dust. We went wide and hit something, we got a puncture soon after and stopped to change it." He loses 2min20sec

Fri 15:57 - SS7: Neuville puncture?
The Belgian had stopped on stage for two minutes.

Fri 15:56 - SS7: Mikko Hirvonen
"I'm quite happy with that. Let's see what Mads is going to do."

Fri 15:54 - SS7: Andreas Mikkelsen
He's slower than Ogier by 19.9sec and shaking his head too. "A clean stage for us, but maybe I pushed too much and was too sideways. Still a long rally to go."

Fri 15:52 - SS7: Jari-Matti Latvala
Completes the stage 10 sec slower than Ogier. He is frustrated and shaking his head. "A difficult day. I don't have the speed. That's it for sure. The next time on gravel it has to improve. I have absolutely no idea how Sebastien is doing his times."

Fri 15:49 - SS7: Ogier off!
And straight on again. The Frenchman spinning at 5kph just after the flying finish. "That was strange - I followed some lines and had a small spin. Overall I'm really, really happy with the day. We pushed hard all day and it paid off." His time is 22m46.1s.

Fri 15:34 - SS7 Live
Ogier began today's final test, the repeated Terra Alta, at 1522hrs.

Fri 15:28 - SS5/6 Key points
Rally leader Sebastien Ogier wins the first repeated (and swept) stage but Neuville is faster on SS6 to trim his advantage to just 4.6sec. Elfyn Evans stops 23km into SS6. Dani Sordo loses 30 seconds after his co-driver gives him the wrong start time. Latvala sixth and frustrated by his poor performance.

Fri 15:21 - SS6: Ken Block deflated
True to his 'kill all tires' philosophy, Block completes having killed his front left. "We drove 7 or 8kms like that," he explained. 'We hit something in the line. A rock or something. Other that that it was probably my best stage so far. Now I'm going to pay Alex to change it for me while I sit it the car. I'm kidding..."

Fri 15:12 - WRC top 5 after SS6
1. Ogier (VW): 1:06:17.9s, 2. Neuville (Hyundai): +4.6s, 3. Ostberg (Citroen): +17.9s, 4. Mikkelsen (VW): +20.4s, 5. Hirvonen (Ford): +24.3s

Fri 15:07 - SS6: Robert Kubica
Fifth fastest, 4.3sec off Neuville's stage winning time. Sounds like his earlier up-shift problem is cured. "A good stage for us. No dust."

Fri 15:04 - SS6: Co-driver error costs Sordo
He completes with the loss of 35sec after a cock-up at the start control. "Marc [co-driver] gave me the wrong minute to start, so we sat on the start line when we should have gone. Mistakes happen."

Fri 14:59 - SS6: Evans stopped
Martin Prokop says he saw Evans in the stage, warning drivers to slow down. No sign of his Fiesta.

Fri 14:53 - SS6: Evans off again
His car is off the road at the 23.7km point. He went off on the previous stage and damaged the right-hand rear.

Fri 14:51 - SS6: Mads Ostberg
Third quickest so far - 2.4sec slower than Neuville. "Good fun. A clean run with no mistakes. The plan was to take it a bit easy on these first two stages to keep some tyres for the third."

Fri 14:49 - SS6: Neuville beats VW trio!
The Belgian completes 2.1sec quicker than Mikkelsen. He remains second, but now just 4.6 sec off Ogler's lead. "Big push!" he says. "No dust, so it's much more enjoyable than this morning. I tried to keep the medal to the metal. We will have a look at the tyres now but I reckon another big push on the next."

Fri 14:46 - SS6: Hirvonen in the zone
And sounding very positive - despite being 4.8sec slower than Mikkelsen and dropping behind him in the standings. "That was a really good drive. I can't do any better that that. No dust. I'm really happy with the run."

Fri 14:42 - SS6: Andreas Mikkelsen
He is fastest so far, in 14m45.7s, and should move up to fourth place. "I pushed very hard in here. I have six new tyres this afternoon. Perfect."

Fri 14:40 - SS6: Latvala close...
But again Ogier is quicker - by 0.2sec on this occasion. Still Jari-Matti, some improvement over the morning? "I'm a bit happier. But sometimes you don't have the speed. I don't today. The car feels fine. Sebastien is driving very well."

Fri 14:37 - SS6: Ogier clears
His time of 14m48.6s almost 40sec quicker than the earlier pass. "A really good stage. Not really saving the tyres here, just concentrating on driving fast - I guess they'll be okay."

Fri 14:32 - SS5: Power problem for Kubica
"The afternoon didn't start too well. I think we have some issue again on the up-shift. We have huge misfires and the car is not accelerating as it should." He completes 3.2sec slower than stage winner Ogier.

Fri 14:28 - SS5: Hayden Paddon
He's fourth fastest, 0.8sec off Ogier's pace. "A lot more grip this time, the balance of the car is great. We're pushing, but not too much. The next one is where we'll try a bit harder."

Fri 14:25 - SS5: Sordo revitalised
The Spaniard sets the same time as Neuville (4m24.5s) "The car is completely different. We changed the suspension and springs and the car is softer and easy to drive."

Fri 14:23 - SS6 Live
There's a lot of stage overlap today. Ogier began the repeated Gandesa at 1419hrs

Fri 14:20 - SS5: Evans off
He loses about a minute and completes with a punctured right-hand rear tyre. "We went wide and hit something." He leaves quickly to check the damage.

Fri 14:18 - SS5: Mads Ostberg
A decent time, 0.7sec off Ogier's fastest, and he's sounding a lot more positive than this morning. "Both the road and the sky are clear for now. That's nice. The car and the rhythm are good."

Fri 14:14 - SS5: Tyres in reserve for Neuville
"I was on the maximum I think. I have a new strategy and have two new tyres in the car. I'll put them on for the next two stages. Hopefully the strategy will work." His time through SS5 is 1.5sec slower than Ogier.

Fri 14:10 - SS5: Mikko Hirvonen
He's slowest of the WRC runners so far, 2.3sec off Ogier's pace, but he is looking at the bigger picture. "In a few corners it could have been better, but this afternoon is going to be hard on the tyres so I was taking care."

Fri 14:06 - SS5: Mikkelsen dust-free
He completes 0.6sec slower than Ogier. "Not bad. The surface is much harder and no dust at all - that makes me happy."

Fri 14:04 - SS5: Jari-Matti Latvala
He is down in 7th place after a miserable morning. Any improvement after service? "Yes, its better, but again I was losing time towards the end. Not the best feeling, but better." He is 1.3sec slower on stage than Ogier.

Fri 14:02 - SS5: Sebastien Ogier
He's first through, and enjoying the swept surface. "There's much more grip than before - no comparison. It is very aggressive on the tyres though. I did my best to save them." His time is 4m23.0s

Fri 11:52 - Next stage: SS5
The repeat pass of Gandesa kicks off at 1354hrs. We'll resume our live text coverage then. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news section for the latest from Salou. Adiós for now.

Fri 11:50 - WRC2 top 5 after SS4
1. Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta RRC): 49m38.5s, 2. Chardonnet (Citroen DS3 R5): +25.0s, 3. Gorban (John Cooper S2000): +31.1s, 4. Fuchs (Ford Fiesta R5): +54.4s, 5. Maurin (Ford Fiesta R5): +56.2s

Fri 11:45 - SS4: Kruuda lives!
His car reaches the stop control in terrible shape; its rear windows are gone, the front is smashed in, but after twice retiring on the opening day in Spain, the Estonian is determined to keep going "There was a big dip in the road, and I guess I didn't brake enough," he explained. "The car did a nose dive, I couldn't turn and we slid into ditch. But we try to keep going. There was no way in hell I was going to retire three times in a f***ing row. There are still stages for us to do today."

Fri 11:35 - Up next: Service
Crews are making their way back to Salou for the 30-minute midday service. First car in at 1206hrs.

Fri 11:22 - SS4 Key points
A remarkable time from Ogier moves him back into the rally lead, 8.4sec ahead of Neuville. Ogier benefited from a clear view ahead and a 6km section of grippy asphalt. Those behind were again hampered by dust clouds. Ogier’s title rival Latvala is way off the pace with set-up issues. Paddon drops more than 5min with a spin and two punctures.

Fri 11:15 - WRC top 5 after SS4
1. Ogier (VW): 47m06.3s, 2. Neuville (Hyundai): +8.4s, 3. Ostberg (Citroen): +19.8s, 4. Hirvonen (Citroen): +20.1s, 5. Mikkelsen (VW): +22.7s

Fri 11:10 - SS4: Kruuda off!
The WRC2 leader has left the road after a compression. Car stuck off the road. Crew okay

Fri 11:07 - SS4: Paddon explains
He loses 5m52.3 on stage. "We were always going to try here to make the most of our good road position - but we pushed a little too hard. We went wide on the first corner, hit a bank and spun. We got some damage and we picked up two punctures. No regrets though, I had to push."

Fri 11:02 - SS4: Robert Kubica
"We were four or five seconds off the pace here last year and I got caught out with my pace notes today. Now we are better but we finished the tyres on the tarmac section here, so the last 10kms were difficult."

Fri 10:57 - SS4: Dani Sordo
An okay time for Dani, who slots 6th quickest, with a time 18.2sec slower than Ogier's. "A little bit better than the first stages, the car is better but there is still no grip at all. It's difficult to do good times. I can't drive the car like I want."

Fri 10:53 - SS4: Martin Prokop
"The car is still moving about at the rear. I'm slowing for some corners but it's hard to judge the grip and that's affecting my rhythm."

Fri 10:50 - SS4: Paddon moving again
Confirmation of a rear puncture for the Hyundai driver.

Fri 10:46 - SS4: Spin for Ostberg
"This stage went well but I had a spin in the dust and lost quite a lot of time. I had to reverse - so maybe 5-8sec. The car is working quite well."

Fri 10:43 - SS4: Paddon stopped
The Kiwi is parked at the 11.2km mark. We are hearing he is changing a wheel.

Fri 10:41 - SS4: Thierry Neuville
He's second quickest so far, 8.5sec slower than Ogier. "I hope one day to have Ogier's luck... Behind him the dust we are facing makes it frustrating. I'll keep pushing but I couldn't do any more that this. I had to slow down a couple of times - I didn't know if I was on the stage or not."

Fri 10:37 - SS4: Mikko Hirvonen
The Finn is 12.1sec slower than Ogier. "It was really, really difficult. Maybe my time is better than Andreas and Jari-Matti but we knew there would be dust here and the organisers should have increased the gap to four minutes."

Fri 10:34 - SS4: Andreas Mikkelsen
The Norwegian is 18.9sec than Ogier and sounds uncomfortable. "We are still struggling to see and on this one we had a puncture on the rear right. It's not easy when it's like this. You have to have your eyes wide open even to see the corners."

Fri 10:31 - SS4: Latvala bewildered
He's a massive 19.2sec slower than Ogier and arrives at the stop control shaking his head. "The car has not been good to drive today. I'm really struggling with the set-up - it's not working as I thought. I don't know why. I have no idea."

Fri 10:28 - SS4: Sebastien Ogier
First to complete, in 23m26.1s. "Luckily there is a bit of tarmac in the middle to even things up. Overall I'm very happy with my loop. I couldn't do more. I pushed from the first to the last."

Fri 10:23 - Meeke's second puncture

Fri 10:12 - Stage notes: SS4
Terra Alta 1, 35.68km. The only proper mixed test contains five surface changes and 6km of twisty, undulating asphalt in the middle which will be tough on tyres and brakes. Following a fast start overlooking the village of Vilalba des Arcs, it winds through a gorge lined by rock faces. After the asphalt, the road narrows with some tricky dips.

Fri 10:10 - SS4 Underway
Ogier began the stage at 1001hrs

Fri 10:02 - SS3: Sousa stopped
That's a disaster for the WRC2 title contender. Puncture?

Fri 10:00 - SS2/3 Key points
After three stages, Thierry Neuville holds a slender 0.1sec rally lead over Sebastien Ogier. Ogier, running first on the road, encountered the worst of the slippery gravel conditions, but benefited from a clear view ahead. Those behind were hampered by dust clouds. Kris Meeke retired after a double puncture on SS3.

Fri 09:55 - Kris Meeke retires
Confirmation received that Meeke's day is over after that double puncture on SS3

Fri 09:54 - WRC top 5 after SS3
1. Neuville (Hyundai): 23m40.1s, 2. Ogier (VW): +0.1s, 3. Paddon (Hyundai): +2.3s, 4. Mikkelsen (VW): +3.9s, 5. Latvala (VW): +5.1s

Fri 09:51 - SS3: Double dust for Kubica
"There is a lot of dust coming inside the car. Even when it's not too bad outside, there's so much inside that it's hard to see out - especially with the low sun."

Fri 09:48 - SS3: Paddon quickest
His 15m26.6s is 2.1sec faster than Ogier. "Maybe Christmas has come early! In some places flat-out, and then in the dust it's like hitting a wall. It was scary. Before the stage [my co-driver] John said trust your notes and that's what I did."

Fri 09:43 - SS3: Dani Sordo
"The dust was very, very bad. The car is moving a lot. Impossible to drive."

Fri 09:41 - SS3: Small off for Evans
He gets away with it, and completes 16.1sec off the time of Ogier, who is still fastest through

Fri 09:38 - SS3: Double puncture for Meeke
He stopped to change one on stage, but his left front is wrecked when he arrives at the stop control. That could be curtains for the Brit, who is carrying only one spare tyre.

Fri 09:35 - SS3: Ostberg raging
The Norwegian passed Meeke on stage, but it wasn't an easy manoeuvre. "I got all the way up to him. That shouldn't happen." He drives off, punching the steering wheel.

Fri 09:32 - SS3: Meeke moving again
But he's dropped almost 4 minutes

Fri 09:29 - SS3: Meeke stopped
His Citroen DS3 WRC is parked at the 19.1km point. Reports of a puncture.

Fri 09:29 - SS3: Neuville angered by dust clouds
"It's really dangerous. You can't see the corners, even if your pace notes are right. I don't think it's rallying to fight with the dust. But what can we do?" The time is good enough to move him into a slim rally lead

Fri 09:25 - SS3: Mikko Hirvonen
"I'm trying but there's so much dust it's hard to see. Let's see how it goes for the boys behind,

Fri 09:25 - SS3: Mikkelsen's dust concern
The Norwegian slips to second place and says the hanging dust from Ogier and Latvala was to blame. "The conditions are really terrible. There is so much dust it's like driving against a wall. The car was really nice but the conditions are dangerous."

Fri 09:21 - SS3: Latvala frustated
He's 2sec slower than his team-mate and agitated at the stage end. "I'm not happy. That did not go well. Quite a lot of dust, I'm struggling with the car."

Fri 09:19 - SS3: Ogier clears
His time is 15m28.7s

Fri 09:13 - SS2: Moment for Robert Kubica
He's seventh quickest, but had a hairy moment. "My pace notes were not so good. Last year I was cruising through, this time I lost the line in one corner but it's okay."

Fri 09:11 - SS2: Hayden Paddon
A great start for the Kiwi, who is 3.3sec quicker than his Hyundai team-mate Sordo. "The second half has swept well but the first half is still very slippery. Nothing too special but okay."

Fri 09:08 - SS2: Dani Sordo
Considering his road position, we were expecting a good time from Dani. Instead, he's 5.3sec slower than Meeke. "The time is not so good," he acknowledges. "I hoped it would be better but it's like this at the moment."

Fri 09:05 - SS2: Martin Prokop
is slowest of the WRC runners so far, 7.1sec off Meeke's stage leading time and struggling in his Pirelli-shod Fiesta. "Really slippery. I have very bad grip at the rear. I expected more grip. Really tricky."

Fri 09:02 - Stage notes SS3:
Pesells 1, 26.59km. A difficult gravel test used in 2012 and 2013, Pesells is covered with a thin layer of gravel that will clean. After a slow opening, it becomes increasingly faster before a twisty final 4km. There are several short asphalt sections with barriers lining the most hazardous bends.

Fri 09:01 - SS3: Is live
Sebastien Ogier started the 26km Pessells test at 0858hrs

Fri 09:00 - SS2: Elfyn Evans
"The road isn't cleaning massively. Struggling for grip in places. I was a bit untidy."

Fri 08:59 - SS2: Mads Ostberg
Slots second-fastest, 1.5sec off the pace of his Citroen team-mate Meeke. "There's a line clearing in the road. It's getting faster and faster."

Fri 08:56 - SS2: Helicopter issue for Meeke
The Brit is quickest so far, in 4m26.3s, but he had a close encounter with one of the television camera helicopters. "I want a word with the helicopter pilot. He flew down in the road in front of me and blew all the dust up. I couldn't see anything."

Fri 08:53 - SS2: Thierry Neuville
Quicker than Mikkelsen by 1.3sec. "It's very slippery and we are sliding around. There are no lines yet, we try to do our best."

Fri 08:51 - SS2: Mikko Hirvonen
is 3sec off Mikkelsen's pace. It's not a bad start for the Finn, but he's not sounding comfortable. He thinks his car's set-up is not right.

Fri 08:48 - SS2: Mikkelsen clear
The overnight leader is fastest so far, 1.4sec quicker than Ogier. He had an early scare today when he had to push his Polo into service. "Everyting is fine now - it was just a fuel thing. We had some left but didn’t want to risk running out and damaging the car."

Fri 08:44 - SS2: Latvala rock strike
He's 1.7sec slower than Ogier and his Polo R is sporting some damage to its front right corner. "I hit a stone. There was quite a lot of dust at the beginning and I didn't see it. I didn't cut, it was on the side of the road. I was afraid I would get a puncture. I had no rhythm."

Fri 08:40 - SS2: Ogier completes
He's first through in 4m30.6. "The grip is not so good but I'm happy. I've done a good stage, but the surface is loose so for sure it won't be the fastest."

Fri 08:37 - Stage notes: SS2
Gandesa 1, 7.00km. The road from Gandesa to Bot is a repeat of last year’s stage. After 700m on asphalt, it’s fast and smooth gravel for the rest of the way on mid-to-wide undulating roads. Twisty throughout, it requires hard braking and a good balance with the car.

Fri 08:36 - Dust watch
The gravel roads are bone dry and there is not a lot of breeze on the opening stage. Cars will start at 3-minute intervals but hanging dust could hamper visibility. If it does, organisers can extend the gaps to four minutes

Fri 08:35 - Weather update
Clear skies over Salou, with a fresh early morning temperature of 10˚C. There is no sign of rain and the temperature is forecast to hit 28˚C today

Fri 08:34 - Friday's start order
is based on championship standings, which puts Ogier first on the road. Here’s the full World Rally Car start order: 1. Ogier, 2. Latvala, 3. Mikkelsen, 4. Hirvonen, 5. Neuville, 6. Meeke, 7. Ostberg, 8. Evans, 9. Prokop, 10. Sordo, 11. Paddon, 12. Kubica, 13. Protasov, 14. Al Qassimi, 15. Block

Fri 08:34 - Cars have left service
and are en route to the start of SS2, Gandesa, which kicks off at 0833hrs local

Fri 08:34 - Friday’s stages:
SS2/SS5 Gandesa (7km), SS3/SS6 Pesells (26.59km) and SS4/SS7 Terra Alta (35.68km)

Fri 08:33 - Friday’s itinerary:
crews head west for a loop of three gravel-covered stages that will be repeated in the afternoon after a midday service

Fri 08:33 - Coming up
After Thursday’s single street stage, we have a full day of gravel rallying on Friday

Fri 08:33 - We’re back
at the wrc.com desk of text, nestled inside rally HQ at the Port Aventura theme park

Fri 08:32 - Hola from Salou
and welcome to our live text coverage of RallyRACC - Rally de España, round 12 of the FIA World Rally Championship

Thu 19:30 - Thursday done
Just the one stage tonight - a curtain raiser before a full day of competition tomorrow. We'll resume our live text service at 0830hrs on Friday - in time for the 7km Gandesa stage. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news section for the latest from Salou. Adiós for now.

Thu 19:30 - WRC2 top 5 after SS1
1. Chardonnet (Citroen DS3 R5): 3m50.9s, 2. Sousa (Ford Fiesta RRC): +2.1s, 3. Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta RRC): +2.5s, 4. Kruuda (Ford Fiesta S2000): +6.4s, 5. Barrable (Ford Fiesta R5): +6.4s

Thu 19:14 - SS1 Key points
Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen was fastest on the Barcelona street stage to spring into an early, 1.8sec, lead of RallyRACC - Rally de España. Pre-stage, the Norwegian scrubbed much of the tread off his gravel tyres to improve grip on the asphalt. Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville are second and third overnight. Ken Block slammed his Fiesta RS into a barrier on the first corner but seems to have escaped mechanical damage.

Thu 19:05 - WRC top 5 after SS1
1. Mikkelsen (VW): 3m39.1s, 2. Ogier (VW): +1.8s, 3. Neuville (Hyundai): +2.9s, 4. Latvala (VW): +3.1s, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): +3.6s

Thu 18:59 - SS1: Ogier gets close...
But he's unable to beat Mikkelsen's time. Seb stops the clock 1.8sec slower to slot second fastest. "An okay stage, but not too much risk. The real rally starts tomorrow. Flat out, that's the plan."

Thu 18:55 - SS1: Latvala too hestitant?
The Finn is 3.2sec slower than his VW team-mate Mikkelsen. "That was a very demanding stage. The car was performing well but in a few places I was a little hesitant. I had only one soft tyre and perhaps with two - like Ogier - I could have been quicker."

Thu 18:52 - SS1: Mikkelsen tyre gamble
Fastest so far (3m39.1s) for the Norwegian who is after his first WRC rally win this weekend. He scrubbed most of the tread off his tyres before the stage and reckons his virtual slicks made the difference. "Okay, we've used up some of our allocation for tomorrow, but I think what we'll gain here is more than we'll lose tomorrow."

Thu 18:48 - SS1: Mikko Hirvonen
"The time wasn't so great but I enjoyed it." He's fifth fastest

Thu 18:45 - SS1: Neuville's donut regret
The Belgian pings his i20 WRC through in a new fastest time of 3m42.0s. "It was a good run, but a lost a little time in the donut because I did it in second gear and couldn't get full throttle."

Thu 18:42 - SS1: Meeke clears
A great time for the Brit who is 0.4sec slower than Sordo. "A brilliant stage for the spectators. I'm happy with my run, technically it was good. Lets see how the Volkswagens do - it looks like they've played with their tyres. How they are legal I don't know..."

Thu 18:39 - SS1: Great start for Ostberg
He's second quickest so far, 1sec adrift of Sordo. "A fantastic stage, right up there with my favorite super specials of the year. The setting is fantastic and there are so many people!"

Thu 18:36 - SS1: Cautious start for Evans
He retired on the Salou street stage last year - so he's understandably pretty careful tonight. "Yeah, I was trying to be careful, it's a tricky little stage. Maybe I didn't push hard enough - maybe a bit too tidy." He completes 6.8sec slower than Sordo.

Thu 18:32 - SS1: Prokop clear
and he's second fastest so far. "A fantastic stage, really nice but we are so limited by the (gravel) tyres. We managed a clear run to be ready for tomorrow."

Thu 18:30 - SS1: Sordo in trouble?
Huge cheers from the Spanish crowd as Dani completes in 3m42.7s - fastest so far. But he's sounding concerned. "I think first gear wasn't coming up very good. We didn't seem to have power coming out of the hairpins. Perhaps something is wrong. We will have a look."

Thu 18:26 - SS1: Paddon fastest so far
In a time of 3m47.5s. "I quite enjoyed this. There are heaps of people and an amazing atmosphere. We made a bit of smoke and had fun."

Thu 18:24 - SS1: Kubica slides through
This stage is run close to the former Barcelona Grand Prix circuit, but our ex F1 driver wasn't feeling at home. "It wasn't easy doing this on gravel tyres. I see tarmac and I think grip - but there wasn't a lot here!"

Thu 18:21 - SS1: Protasov clears
His time of 3m51.2s is quickest so far

Thu 18:19 - SS1: Khalid the showman
It's not easy to follow Ken Block, but Al Qassimi gives it a good go in his Citroen DS3. "We spent a lot of sideways. This was definitely not about times - this was for the show." Good man. He completes 5sec slower than Ken.

Thu 18:14 - SS1: Block completes
And his benchmark time is 3m52.0s. "The tyres were colder and slicker than I thought and it went way wider than I expected! The rest of the stage was good, I hope the damage isn't too bad. It's good to be back!"

Thu 18:11 - SS1: And Block's into the barrier!
A wild first corner for the American, who slams the left rear into a barrier. He seems to have got away with it.

Thu 18:08 - SS1: Stage is Live!
Ken Block began the stage at 1808hrs

Thu 17:53 - SS1 stage notes:
Barcelona, 3.20km: This asphalt test on the lower section of Montjuïc hill is the first stage in Barcelona since the rally entered the WRC. Concrete walls line the roads and drivers complete two laps, including ‘doughnuts’ in front of the Palau Nacional building.

Thu 17:44 - Weather update
It’s been a lovely sunny day in Salou, with blue skies and a high of 26˚C. It’s 23˚C now. Sunset tonight is 1903hrs

Thu 17:42 - Stage 1 start order
s based on championship standings reversed - which puts the WRCs returning Hoonigan Ken Block through first. Here’s the full World Rally Car start order: 1. Block, 2. Al Qassimi, 3. Protasov, 4. Kubica, 5. Paddon, 6. Sordo, 7. Prokop, 8. Evans, 9. Ostberg, 10. Meeke, 11. Neuville, 12. Hirvonen, 13. Mikkelsen, 14. Latvala, 15. Ogier

Thu 17:41 - Thursday’s itinerary
Crews left Salou from 1pm for the start of the opening stage, held on tarmac in the streets of Barcelona. The 3.2km sprint gets underway at 1808hrs (local). After covering a total distance of 222 kilometres, the cars will come back to parc ferme from 2008hrs

Thu 17:41 - Coming up
is the opening stage of this unique mixed-surface rally.

Thu 16:45 - We’re all set
at the wrc.com desk of text, inside rally HQ at the Port Aventura theme park in host town Salou.

Thu 16:45 - Hola from Salou
and welcome to our live text coverage of RallyRACC - Rally de España, round 12 of the FIA World Rally Championship

Wed 17:28 - Servicepark Livestream
Open the Live Text Pop-Up to see the Schedule

Wed 09:41 - RallyRACC - Rally de Espana
SS1 Barcelona from 6pm (CEST) live @ www.wrcplus.com

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