Sordo, then aged 22, had only originally planned to contest the opening three rounds of the 2006 season in a Kronos Racing Citroen Xsara WRC before reverting back to a PH Sport-run C2 to defend his Junior crown. But strong early season performances - including his second place in Catalunya - prompted a change of plan.
“The C2 has stopped for me,” said Sordo at the time. “This result is very important and you cannot believe how I am feeling right now. I want to carry on [in the Xsara].”
Sordo moved into second place when Marcus Gronholm’s Ford Focus encountered turbo problems on stage five. The youngster set the quickest time on stage 10 and finished 48.2s behind winner Sebastien Loeb to move into third in the world championship standings.
He explained his then mentor, the rallying legend Carlos Sainz, had told him to remain calm on the final leg of the event. “He told me the position for me was perfect and to finish second would be incredible and great for my future,” said Sordo.
Sordo also asked Loeb for advice throughout the rally. The French ace said: “He asked me about tyre choice but it was hard to help him on the set-up because his car used active differentials. He did really good for his first rally on Tarmac in a World Rally Car. You could say his performance was incredible.”
Starting this week’s RallyRACC-Rally de Espana in a Prodrive MINI John Cooper Works WRC, Sordo now has 32 podiums to his name.