Loose gravel pulled onto the roads made life difficult for all the crews, but Lindholm showed no signs of backing off. After opening up a 14.9sec lead on Friday, the Finn steered his Škoda Fabia Rally2 to four more stage wins and left his rivals floundering.
He arrived back at service in Salou having more than doubled his advantage to 31.4sec over Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
Lindholm is not scoring championship points this weekend as he has already started the maximum seven rallies. He entered the rally as co-driver to Reeta Hämäläinen, although Lindholm is the one doing the driving.
“It's been fun co-driving,” joked the leader. “It's been good, but the stages are tricky with a lot of stones. We have had to keep some care, but we are leading our class so we can relax a bit.”
Kajetanowicz spent the day locked into a duel with fellow Fabia driver Pepe López. The pair were never separated by more than 8sec, but a last-minute charge enabled Kajetanowicz to move ahead of López by 1.6sec after the final Salou test.
Kajetanowicz needs to score as many championship points as possible. He trails championship leader Yohan Rossel (who is missing from the entry) by 15 points but has started one rally less than his rival.
Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy youngster Josh McErlean wrestled his Hyundai i20 R5 up to fourth, leapfrogging Chris Ingram’s Škoda in the process. He ended more than two minutes back from the podium positions but 29.2sec ahead of Ingram.
Armin Kremer completed the top six with daughter Ella alongside. The Volkswagen Polo pair were 6min 35.1sec down on the leaders by the end of the day.
Škoda-backed youngster Dominik Stříteský became the first casualty of the day when he pulled his Fabia over on the opening stage with mechanical woes. Mikko Heikkilä’s similar car stopped shortly afterwards in SS9, whilst home hero Jan Solans crashed his C3 at El Montmell.
• Full coverage from RallyRACC Rally de España will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.