Stage data: SS11, El Priorat 2 (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:
Mikko Hirvonen has snatched third place on RallyRACC-Rally de Espana following the second run through El Priorat.
The Citroen driver was 17.6s quicker than Mads Ostberg to move 12.1s in front of the Ford privateer heading to Saturday’s final stage. “I really tried to push a little bit and find a good rhythm,” said Hirvonen. “I’m quite happy with that time.”
Ostberg, who slips to fourth overall after going 27.1s slower than event leader Sebastien Loeb, said: “The [soft] set-up is absolutely horrible and it’s not possible to drive the car. I just lose the grip everywhere when it’s drying up. I’m more sideways than straight. This is not good for the result - I guarantee we will lose a lot of time. It’s hopeless.”
Loeb, meanwhile, admitted to reducing his pace just slightly in the closing stages of the run. “I pushed really hard from the start and was too aggressive, which meant there was a little movement with the tyre at the middle. I took it a bit easy after that.”
Jari-Matti Latvala was 3.1s slower than Loeb and now trails the Frenchman in the overall classification by 24.1s. “The set-up was too soft, I needed a full dry set-up but unfortunately I didn’t have it,” said Latvala. “The car was moving too much and I didn’t get the best confidence.”
Spaniard Dani Sordo, who was quickest of all on stage 10 in his MINI, has yet to complete the run but has recorded a number of fastest split times so far.