Jari-Matti Latvala has taken the lead of RallyRACC Rally de España for Volkswagen Motorsport after the second day of competition. The Finn is in a close-fought battle with local hero Dani Sordo, the rivals split by just 1.6 seconds, and third is now held by Thierry Neuville in the Fiesta RS WRC.
Today’s route took the crews to the west of Salou for five asphalt stages before returning to the coastal town for a short street stage. The longest day of the event took in 155.63 competitive kilometres and has set up the potential for a great battle on Sunday’s gravel stages. Today’s eighth stage also counted as the all-important Power Stage, in which additional Championship points are awarded to the fastest three drivers. Assuming all remain in the final classification at the end of the event, Neuville, Sébastien Ogier and Latvala will collect the additional three, two and one point respectively.
Ogier led the field into today’s stages and maintained his overnight lead until the third stage when he had a broken wheel, deflating the tyre. The Frenchman lost nearly a minute and dropped to sixth in the standings. He has however climbed to fourth this evening. Following his misfortune, the lead jointly moved over to both Sordo and Latvala and, as the Spaniard was running behind the Finn on the road, Sordo could match his pace to ensure second overnight and a better road position for tomorrow. Neuville is 29.3 seconds off the lead but, again, is in a good position to capitalise on his third place on the road.
Behind fourth-placed Ogier, Mikko Hirvonen and Evgeny Novikov are battling for fifth, split overnight by a mere one-tenth of a second. Mads Østberg is in a lonely seventh position ahead of Martin Prokop and New Zealander Hayden Paddon. Robert Kubica rounds off the top 10 and heads the FIA WRC 2 Championship category. Leading retirements of the day included Andreas Mikkelsen, who was forced out with damaged rear suspension this morning, and Nasser Al-Attiyah, who escaped a heavy accident unscathed.
RallyRACC Rally de España – Unofficial Results after Day 2