for RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de Espana leaderboard after SS17
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has extended his lead on RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de Espana after Sunday's opening loop.
Ogier, who is poised to secure his fourth WRC Drivers' title today, was fastest in the first test, the 19.30km run through Pratdip 1, 2secs up on Hayden Paddon and 2.6secs up on nearest rival, Dani Sordo.
The Frenchman was then second best in Duesaigues 1, 0.2secs slower than team-mate and Rally 2 runner, Jari-Matti Latvala, while Sordo was again down, losing another 3.9secs.
It means Ogier will go into the final repeat loop with his overnight lead over the Hyundai up from 5.8secs to 12.7secs.
“For sure it's good to be quicker again than Dani,” Ogier said. “I was little bit more cautious than normal after last year [when I crashed out in this test]. [But] for sure it's looking good.
“Two stages to go.”
“I tried really hard to catch Ogier,” insisted local star Sordo.
“I promise everybody I'm doing my best - there are so many people in the stages I want to thank them for their support.”
Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville remains third in his Hyundai i20 WRC, with team-mate Hayden Paddon now 13.4secs adrift. The gap had been 16.1secs last night.
"All I can do is keep the pressure on but I don't want a big battle,” Paddon remarked after SS16. “We'll keep going.”
Behind, M-Sport's Mads Ostberg now finds himself promoted to fifth, after Kris Meeke had to stop and park his Citroen DS 3 WRC around 6km into the opening test of the day. The Abu Dhabi Total WRT later confirmed the Ulsterman had engine trouble.
Ott Tanak is next up in sixth for DMACK, ahead of Hyundai fourth driver Kevin Abbring and WRC2 front runners Jan Kopecky and Pontus Tidemand, the latter two now split by 10.1secs.
Ford privateer Martin Prokop completes the top-ten, but is unlikely to go much further after ripping off his front-right wheel in SS17, losing over a minute: “Too fast on a corner and we went wide,” he confirmed at the finish of the test.
Craig Breen, Lorenzo Bertelli, Khalid Al-Qassimi, Pierre-Louis Loubet and Valeriy Gorban fill positions 11 through to 15, with Latvala 16th after re-starting under Rally 2 on Saturday.
M-Sport #2 Eric Camilli is another back under Rally 2, after transmission problems yesterday halted him after SS12. He is currently 20th.
RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de Espana now concludes with repeats runs through Pratdip and Duesaigues. SS18, Pratdip 2, is due to start at 10.39 hours local time [09.39 hours UK time]. Duesaigue 2 – the Power Stage – then starts at 12.08 hours local time [11.08 hours UK time].