Second place this weekend would be enough to give the ex Formula 1 ace an unassailable lead in the World Rally Championship’s premier support category, but completing Saturday’s stages with a four minute lead over Sepp Wiegand, a fifth season win looks more likely.
Kubica was fastest on five of today’s six stages, and was only beaten on the day closing 2km sprint through downtown Salou because a technical problem meant he wasn’t able to spin his Citroen RRC around the hairpin bends.
“Our only problem was a broken handbrake, so in tight conditions we had to stop and reverse to get around the corners,” he explained. “Other than that it has been a good day, all okay for us.”
Elfyn Evans was Kubica’s closest challenger for most of the day. The Welshman was second fastest in his Fiesta R5 on every stage, and only two minutes adrift, before he retired after taking a wheel off at the Salou street stage.
“It was really slippery, and we clipped a hairpin which broke a steering joint and ripped a front wheel off,” explained Evans. “It was a silly mistake and slightly embarrassing to say the least. We’ll get it sorted and get out again tomorrow. I’d like to go out and challenge again.”
Evans' exit promoted Skoda Fabia S2000 driver Sepp Wiegand into second. The German has been consistent performer through Saturday's stages, going third-fastest on every one except the Salou sprint, which he won.
Yazeed Al Rajhi is third, 51.5sec further back in a Ford Fiesta RRC, with Subhan Aksa a distant fourth and Robert Barrable, who dropped back with a broken driveshaft this morning, rounding off the top five.