Stage data: SS2, Pesells 1 (26.59 kilometres - gravel)
By Prodrive WRC Team co-driver Carlos del Barrio: “It’s a well known stage and also because of the dust last year when it was the first one of the rally. It’s very nice and we feel good there. We did good pace notes, good amendments during the recce. We are looking very confident for this stage. Most of the stage is the same as 2011 except for the last one kilometre, which you turn left for a new spectator area. But it doesn’t change the nature of the stage.”
How the action unfolded:
Ott Tanak emerged in a sensational RallyRACC-Rally de Espana lead as increasingly heavy rain hampered the usual frontrunners on stage two, Pesells.
The young Estonian is just one tenth of a second ahead of Mads Ostberg, while Mikko Hirvonen, Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala have fallen to third, fourth and fifth.
They fared better than Petter Solberg and Thierry Neuville, both of whom damaged their cars and had to stop.
Tanak was none too impressed with his pace when he completed the stage, but with the weather getting ever worse, those early in the running order had a slightly less treacherous conditions than the big names.
The M-Sport Ford driver and Adapta Ford's Ostberg set identical times, and found themselves at the head of the order - despite Ostberg struggling with unsuitable hard tyres.
Hirvonen is now 14.4s behind Tanak and Ostberg in the leading Citroen.
"There's so much standing water that sometimes even in a straight line you have a massive slide," Hirvonen reported.
His team-mate Loeb had even worse weather to cope with and is 7s further back.
"I think we had the right tyre choice for the morning, but the road position is really bad," said Loeb, who chose what should have been the prime spot in 14th on the road after heading qualifying.
"We had heavy rain, big ruts and a lot of water. I cannot drive on the line at all."
Latvala was further compromised by a spin, leaving him another 7s down on Loeb.
The Finn reported that both his Ford team-mate Petter Solberg and Citroen Junior driver Thierry Neuville appeared to have hit a rock and damaged their cars. Both seem to be out of Friday's action already.
Dani Sordo and Jarkko Nikara are sixth and eighth in the Prodrive MINIs, but Nikara is set to gain a position immediately as seventh-placed Martin Prokop crashed his Ford as he crossed the stage two flying finish.