Patrik Flodin will take a lead of 35.9s into day two of the Production Car World Rally Championship battle in Spain despite reporting a power glitch at the completion of the Friday’s final stage.
The Swede said the problem developed following a hefty bump on the penultimate test but is confident that repairs at overnight service in Salou will restore his Subaru Impreza’s engine to full power.
“We were on three cylinders, even two cylinders at one point,” said Flodin. “We are very happy to be in the lead but Kosciuszko is still very close so we have to stay focused to keep him behind.”
Michal Kosciuszko is second in his Mitsubishi Lancer. The Pole said: “We hit a tree on stage two and smashed the rear right window so a lot of dust came into the car which made it more difficult. We can feel that the pace is there so we will try to push a bit more to catch Flodin.”
Benito Guerra is third overall, one place ahead of Martin Semerad, who was slowed by a puncture on Friday morning.
Dmitry Tagirov is fifth overnight with Bader Al Jabri sixth, Gianluca Lincari seventh and Valeriy Gorban eighth.
“The stages were very tricky, it wasn't easy to survive but somehow we managed,” said Tagirov. “We didn't take any risks.”
Production Car Cup champion Harry Hunt crashed his Citroen DS3 R3T on Friday afternoon following minor gearbox issues in the morning.
Hayden Paddon, who clinched the PWRC crown with his fourth consecutive victory in Australia last month, was also out of luck, failing to leave service in Salou this morning after a throttle-related electrical problem struck his New Zealand World Rally Team Impreza.
“I am absolutely gutted that we have not got any stage miles in,” said Paddon, who will restart under SupeRally regulations on day two. “But sometimes you have to take the good with the bad and we just have to learn from what has caused this problem.”