Jari-Matti Latvala stretched his Rally of Spain lead on Sunday morning, but his Volkswagen teammate Sebastien Ogier's sensational pace brought the World Rally champion back into the hunt for victory.
Following his Saturday puncture, Ogier began the final day in fourth place, 42 seconds adrift of leader Latvala. Helped by running further back on the dirty roads, yet also hampered by dust hanging in the morning air on his start position, Ogier tore 28sec out of Latvala in just three stages. That leaves him third, 14.4sec behind his teammate, ahead of the repeat loop in the afternoon that will decide the event.
Citroen's Dani Sordo was just 1.6sec behind Latvala overnight, but found hanging dust an issue on this loop. The home favorite admitted to overdriving as he tried to make amends, and ended the loop 11.5sec behind Latvala and just 2.9sec ahead of Ogier.
Thierry Neuville picked up a rear puncture on the day's second stage and both lost a minute and picked up differential damage as he struggled to the finish. The M-Sport Ford driver therefore fell from third to fifth, behind Mikko Hirvonen.
Despite Ogier's speed, it was actually VW's third driver Andreas Mikkelsen who took two of the morning's three stage wins. But running under Rally2 regulations following his crash earlier in the weekend, Mikkelsen remains at the foot of the overall top 30.
In WRC2, Robert Kubica is firmly on course to clinch the championship as he holds a near-four-minute class lead over Sepp Wiegand in 10th-place overall.
Leading positions after SS6:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen 2h50m30.5s
2. Dani Sordo Citroen +11.5s
3. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen +14.4s
4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen +53.1s
5. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford +1m19.0s
6. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford +1m25.2s
7. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford +2m22.4s
8. Martin Prokop Czech Ford +3m51.4s
9. Hayden Paddon M-Sport Ford +5m16.4s
10. Robert Kubica PH Citroen +7m45.7s*