Stage data: SS9, Riba-roja d’Ebre 1 (14.20 kilometres - asphalt)
By Prodrive WRC Team co-driver Carlos del Barrio: “Eighty per cent of this stage is the same as last year, but we have two kilometres new at the beginning, which was as road section last year. It’s very fast but then we start with the old part, which is very twisty with uphill and downhill. It uses the Tarmac part of stages three and five from Friday but in the opposite direction. You tend to have more gravel on the corners on this stage but we have good memories from here because last year we did the scratch time.”
How the action unfolded:
Sebastien Loeb made light of the tricky stage conditions to extend his lead of RallyRACC-Rally de Espana.
With the stage using the asphalt sections that featured on Terra Alta on day one, Citroen ace Loeb was one of several drivers to report a build up of mud and gravel on the road. With overnight rain also leaving the stage surface damp in some sections, Loeb admitted it had been a tricky run.
“It’s tricky because the stage was run in the opposite direction from yesterday,” said Loeb, who was 2.6s quicker than Ford rival Jari-Matti Latvala. “I try to be clean but it was still muddy and tricky. I have to push hard because Jari-Matti is pushing hard.”
Latvala, who is running third on the road, now trails Loeb by 18.9s. He said: “He’s going fast. I like this stage but the problem for me is it’s wet and the boys have been cutting and taking stuff onto the road. I felt it was understeering a lot.”
Overnight leader Mads Ostberg was 6.6s slower than Loeb. He is now 47.9s behind Loeb in third in the overall classification heading to service in Salou.
Spanish MINI driver Dani Sordo continues to be hobbled by the power glitch that struck on today’s first stage. “We still have the engine problem but we hope to find a solution in service,” he said.
There was drama in the Production Car World Rally Championship on stage eight when the top drivers overnight, Marcos Ligato and Yeray Lemes, both hit trouble with Ligato reporting a loss of brakes and Lemes being slowed by a transmission fault. Their misfortune means title leader Benito Guerra is now in front heading to stage nine.