Stage data: SS8, El Priorat 1 (45.97 kilometres - asphalt)
By Prodrive WRC Team co-driver Carlos del Barrio: “We come to this stage from stage number one, which can be demanding for the tyres so we are not sure of the tyre strategy for this stage, which is so long. It’s a very well known for us this stage and for the other drivers. The first 10 kilometres are most demanding for the pace notes and the nature of the corners and then it becomes wide and more open so not as demanding as you’d expect for a stage of this length.”
How the action unfolded:
Sebastien Loeb has responded to Jari-Matti Latvala’s threat by winning Saturday’s second stage to take the overall lead of RallyRACC-Rally de Espana after Mads Ostberg dropped time going off the road 9.3 kilometres into the test.
Loeb was 1m06.2s quicker than Ostberg and 3.6s faster than Latvala, which hands him a lead of 16.3s over new second placed driver Latvala. Ostberg slips to third, 41.3s off top spot.
“Jari was pushing very hard in the first one so we had to react in this one,” said Citroen’s nine-time world rally champion Loeb. “I’ve pushed on the limit from the start to the end and I’m happy with my driving. For sure it’s a really tough fight.”
Despite losing only a handful of seconds on the 45.97-kilometre stage, held in damp conditions, Ford driver Latvala said he wasn’t happy with his performance. “I’m disappointed. I managed to be very good with him but at the end I started to lose time to him. I don’t know what happened but I made some mistakes and I need to get those away for the next time. The tyres started to move a bit and I started to hesitate.”
Ford privateer Ostberg said: “We had some information that the stage was 50 per cent dry, we put some hard tyres on, but for sure it was not. We went off quite early and lost 40s or something. We continued but hit a barrier later on. It was very difficult and I’m very disappointed.”