One of the classic stages in the championship, this test is famous for its moon-like landscape. The roads are initially wide and fast, but give way to narrow, rough tracks. The entire route is uphill, with big boulders making it tough for tyres and suspension. Huge crowds have a fantastic view of the action across the vast, open countryside.
How the action unfolded
Another determined push from Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala paid off on the repeated Mina Clavero stage when the Finn toppled Evgeny Novikov from third.
Latvala set the fastest time in his Polo R, completing a hat-trick of stage wins today, to move 4.9sec ahead of Fiesta RS driver Novikov.
“It was a very good stage but we didn’t get any splits in the car so I just drove as fast as I could,” Latvala said at the finish control. “If Evgeny is faster then he is faster and I can’t do anything more. I’ve given everything.”
Novikov was next to complete, in the second-fastest time. “I tried to push hard. I did the best that I could, that’s how it is,” said the Russian.
There were position changes further down the order too when Dani Sordo and Andreas Mikkelsen both moved ahead of Ford Fiesta RS pilot Martin Prokop, who slipped from eighth.
Mikkelsen, in a Volkswagen Polo R, had tried to take Sordo as well, who he trailed by 4 sec before the stage.
“We retired here last year, so on the first pass I was careful. I thought I might be able to take Sordo on the repeat, so I came a bit quicker this time - perhaps too fast to save my tyres for the Power Stage - but when I saw his split I knew he was too fast,” he said.
Meanwhile Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier remain on course to take first and second.
Citroen star Loeb will take a 1m02.4s advantage over his Volkswagen rival into the decisive El Condor Power Stage.
“No dramas, but it was really rough with big stones, so not a nice ride. We kept the car in the ruts and drove carefully,” said Loeb.