Stage data: SS13, Riudecanyes 1 (16.35 kilometres - asphalt)
By Prodrive WRC Team co-driver Carlos del Barrio: “This was the Power Stage last year, which more or less ended with the roundabout when we will do the loop. This will be nice for the spectators. The stage is well known for being twisty. In the downhill section there can be some cutting, which is tricky. We go by a dam in this stage where it’s wider and faster. It’s nice and good for the pictures.”
How the action unfolded:
Dani Sordo has thrilled the thousands of fans on RallyRACC-Rally de Espana by going fastest on Sunday’s opening test in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
In dry and bright conditions Sordo was 2.1s quicker than event leader Sebastien Loeb. He said: “The car on this stage was unbelievable. The balance was really nice and I was happy with the tyres. It’s a really nice stage and I was pushing really hard.”
Loeb, in a Citroen DS3 WRC, has grown his overall advantage ahead of Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala to 27.5s. He said: “It was really good, a clean road, nearly completely dry and no tricky places. I was not doing any big pushing but still I had a good rhythm so it was okay.”
Latvala, who is carrying two soft compound spare tyres compared to the one hard spare in Loeb’s car, said: “He’s going really, really fast. I have no chance against him. I was pretty happy with my driving. I improved my set-up but it’s not enough.”
Belgian youngster Thierry Neuville impressed with the fourth best time for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team.
Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak, in third and fourth overall respectively starting day three, weren’t entirely happy with their performances at the stage finish. Tanak was 6.4s down on Sordo with Hirvonen 7.1s adrift.
Mads Ostberg, meanwhile, was more satisfied after set-up changes overnight transformed the handling of his privateer Fiesta after going sixth quickest, 6.9s down on Sordo. “I did a very big change for the car, which helped a lot and I have some parts with me that will make it even better,” said the Norwegian, who remains in fifth overall.
Petter Solberg is running on soft compound tyres on his factory Fiesta. “We just want to test and compare with Jari,” he said.
Evgeny Novikov, who has been saddled with a 10-minute time penalty when it was discovered the depth of his tyre tread was below the 1.6-milimetre limit, admitted to “driving slowly” due to concerns over tyre wear.