Stage description: Pesells is a tricky test, which is identical to last year. The surface is smooth and covered with a thin layer of gravel which will clean for later starters. The roads become faster as the stage progresses, although the final 4km are twisty. There are a few short asphalt sections and barriers line the most difficult bends.
How the action unfolded:
The penultimate stage of Rally de Espana was high on drama, with Dani Sordo crashing out, Jari-Matti Latvala completing with flames licking his car's engine bay and, to top it all, a new rally leader in Sebastien Ogier.
Sordo was first to hit trouble, the Spaniard’s podium challenge coming to an end in the opening section. Pushing hard to try and reclaim second place, he was 0.7sec quicker than Latvala at the 4.1km split point, but put his car off two kilometres later and stopped with broken suspension.
While this information was being digested, Jari-Matti Latvala arrived at the stage end with flames clearly visible under the bonnet of his Polo R. Fire marshals were quickly on the case with extinguishers, and Latvala roared off towards the next stage without any explanation.
Despite the blaze Latvala managed a decent time, but it wasn’t enough to keep his Volkswagen team-mate from snatching the lead.
Ogier was 6.5sec faster than anybody else, to pull a 1.5sec rally lead over Latvala with only the final 35km Terra Alta to go. “Another great stage,” he acknowledged. “It’s a big shame for Dani to stop on his home rally. Now we have one more stage to go and I need to do another good one…”
Citroen’s Mikko Hirvonen is third, 55.2sec behind Latvala.