Hyundai's Thierry Neuville has moved up to joint second in the Drivers' Championship following his third place finish on RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de Espana.
The Belgian led after the opening test on Friday, but found his challenge hampered by handling issues and a spin in the afternoon in SS5.
Nevertheless he was still battling for the final podium position on Saturday, when Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen
crashed out in SS12. With Neuville then going on to take P3 and Mikkelsen not scoring, it means the two are now level on points in the battle for the vice-champions spot with just the events in Wales and Australia remaining.
“It's been a good weekend. I don't think we could have got anything more out of the car in this rally,” Neuville said after the eleventh round in the 2016 World Rally Championship.
“I took things carefully this morning. We did a good job to get into the podium positions so we didn't want to waste that effort. We were focused on the 15 championship points, so accepted that we'd have to compromise our stage times to do that.
“We had to take it cautiously in some sections, but I was mostly able to drive my usual rhythm.
“As a team, we've had a competitive weekend with three cars in the top-four, so we can use this momentum for the final events of the season in GB and Australia. There are a few more competitive performances to come from us this year, I'm sure!”
Speaking in the post-event press conference, Neuville added that he thought his spin on the repeat loop on Friday was “unlucky”.
“For us, we had a strong start then we were really unlucky: we went into a cut with the wheel and that spun the car,” he confirmed. “We lost 30 seconds on the afternoon loop and that put us out of the fight for second.
“Then when Andreas went off, we drove to secure the position and points for team and the championships. We have done the job, we couldn't have done any more. We have all driven very fast and I'm happy to sit here on the podium.”