Stage data: SS6, Salou (2.0 kilometres - asphalt and gravel)
By Prodrive WRC Team co-driver Carlos del Barrio: “This stage is for the show but it’s a nice show. The Salou council wanted something like this so it’s very spectacular for the rally fans. We must take care because otherwise you can hit the walls lining the course. It won’t be a big accident but you can put a wheel off or at least get a puncture. We have to take into account we’re going to be on gravel tyres and the set-up will be for gravel. Providing there is no delay we should run in the daylight but it can be dark for the Priority 3 drivers backwards.”
How the action unfolded:
Mikko Hirvonen brought a wild day of RallyRACC-Rally de Espana to an encouraging close by going fastest on the Salou superspecial.
The Citroen driver had dropped 45 seconds on the preceding Terra Alta stage, but kept himself in the podium hunting by winning the day-closing test.
"It's been quite up and down. The last long stage was really, really bad," Hirvonen admitted.
His team-mate Sebastien Loeb might have hoped to take more time out of rally leader Mads Ostberg on Salou, but was frustrated when it began raining during the four-minute gap before he took the start.
That meant he actually lost 2.1s to Mads Ostberg and 5.1s to Hirvonen, leaving his deficit to the Norwegian in the overall standings at 27.2s heading into Saturday.
Jari-Matti Latvala completes the current top three, 19.8s behind Loeb and 15.6s ahead of Hirvonen.
Having lost ground with his brake problems earlier in the afternoon, Ott Tanak was back on the pace on the superspecial, going second quickest and remaining within 8s of Hirvonen in fifth place.
At the end of a day of chaos, there were no more dramas on Salou, but there was one pre-stage, with Sebastien Ogier - who was poised to move into sixth overall - stopping his Volkswagen Motorsport Skoda Fabia on the road section after Terra Alta.