Second overnight is Ford Fiesta RRC driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, while local hero Lorenzo Bertelli is third, 59.6 sec further back in another Fiesta RRC.
Three weeks after securing his maiden WRC-2 victory in Greece, Kubica dominated from the outset, emerging from Friday’s opening test an astonishing 31seconds clear of the rest of the field – despite catching the dust cloud from Sepp Wiegand’s Skoda ahead of him in the running order.
Apart from that, Kubica’s only other problems came on SS3, when he damaged the rear of his car after clipping a hay bale, and on the penultimate test, SS7, when he again caught the dust from Wiegand’s car and had to slow to 10kph.
Fabia S2000 driver Wiegand was Kubica’s closest rival for much of the day, but the German’s challenge evaporated on the penultimate stage, SS7, when an engine misfire cost him almost two minutes. He later retired on SS8.
This should have left the door open for Ford Fiesta RRC driver Yuriy Protasov to move into second, but unfortunately for the Ukrainian he went off on the same stage and dropped more than 35 minutes. He later retired.
Instead, Italian Lorenzo Bertelli moved into the provisional runner-up spot, helped by a stage win in the Ford Fiesta RRC he is driving here for the first time, having switched from a Subaru Impreza.
Bertelli lost the place on Friday’s final test, however, when he too was hampered by dust clouds from the car in front and dropped more than a minute.
This promoted Al-Kuwari up to second, and on course to consolidate his championship lead on Saturday.