Stage data: SS16, Riudecanyes 2 (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:
Ott Tanak’s first season in the FIA World Rally Championship’s big league is over after he crashed out of RallyRACC-Rally de Espana.
Tanak was in fifth place on the WRC season-closer when he struck a barrier in a high-speed section in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC, fortunately without injury to neither he nor co-driver Kuldar Sikk.
With the bulk of the leading runners opting for a mixture of soft and hard compound tyres to counter the threat of rain on stage 17, Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest for the works Ford team, ending Dani Sordo’s run of stage wins by 0.3s after the Spaniard reported slowing down slightly at the scene of Tanak’s crash.
Citroen’s event leader Sebastien Loeb was third quickest, 4.9s down on Latvala. However, his margin ahead of the Finn is now 19.8s with two stages remaining.
Ford privateer Mads Ostberg has closed on third-placed Mikko Hirvonen by outpacing the Citroen driver by 4.6s. The gap between them is now 15.3s. “I was pushing quite hard in the beginning,” said Ostberg. “We’ve made some changes and the car is better now but there’s too much time to catch to Mikko.”