Citroen's Dani Sordo was fastest on Thursday in the shakedown for Rally de Espana, the twelfth and penultimate round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship.

Sordo, who is the local star, completed the 2.25 kilometre stage near Salou in 1 minute 22.7 seconds, putting him 0.2 seconds up on Volkswagen ace Jari-Matti Latvala, who was 'best of the rest'.

"The four runs we did were good and I'm happy with the car," Sordo told the official WRC site. "We didn't do a pre-event test but the car still feels okay. We're running quite a similar set-up to the one we used in France."

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Newly crowned 2013 WRC champion Sebastien Ogier meanwhile came in third, just 0.1 seconds behind his team-mate, with Andreas Mikkelsen fourth in the third works Polo R WRC.

"I think it [the test] is the worst one we have ever had [for a shakedown]! It's nothing [like the stages of the rally], just a roundabout with a straight and some chicanes," Ogier complained. "We did the four runs we are required to do and that's it. I'm quite happy with the car though. We tested last week and adapted our French set-up a bit. I'm feeling very confident for the rally."

Behind, Evgeny Novikov rounded out the top five for the Qatar M-Sport WRT, with Thierry Neuville, Khalid Al Qassimi, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mikko Hirvonen and Hayden Paddon filling positions 6 through to 10.

The event now gets underway 'proper' on Friday, with three night stages on the bill. SS1, the 21.26 km run through Querol, is set to start at 20.03 hours local time [19.03 hours UK time].

Rally de Espana - Shakedown:

1. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 1m 22.7s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1m 22.9s M
3. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1m 23.0s M
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC 1m 23.3s M
5. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 24.2s M
6. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 24.3s M
7. Khalid Al Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 1m 24.6s M
8. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 25.0s M
9. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 1m 25.5s M
10. Hayden Paddon Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 25.6s
11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 25.9s M
12. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 26.4s M
13. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari Seashore Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1m 27.9s

all times unofficial

Note: There is no qualifying stage in Spain as it is an asphalt event. Qualifying is only deemed necessary on gravel events, where starting position is more critical as the roads can clean if it is dry, meaning those out first end up acting as 'road sweepers'.