Sebastien Loeb is still on course for another Rally of Spain win with two stages to go, while behind him Dani Sordo's chase of Petter Solberg is building towards a final-stage showdown.
With Loeb having been alone out front since Sebastien Ogier crashed on Saturday morning, the focus on the final day is on the works Citroen team's bid to get a 1-2 as home favourite Dani Sordo closes in on privateer Petter Solberg.
Sordo started the day 16.9 seconds down on Solberg, and trimmed 4.9sec from that by winning the opening 42-kilometre El Priorat stage, where Solberg felt he had been too cautious in the mid-section as he tried to avoid his tires fading later. With Sordo 1.2sec quicker on the following La Serra d'Almos too, the gap is now 10.8sec.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) made a final bid to stay in the battle for second on El Priorat but soon realised from the split times that the Citroens ahead were uncatchable, so has now settled for fourth.
Hungarian privateer Frigyes Turan's impressive run ended when he crashed out of seventh on SS13, which means that position now features an unusual battle between Khalid Al Qassimi's works WRC Ford Focus, and Henning Solberg's Ford Fiesta S2000 - the Norwegian determined to upstage a few of the "big" cars as he revels in the new machine.
Turan's retirement put Ogier (Citroen Junior) back on course to salvage a point as he rapidly gained on 10th-placed Dennis Kuipers – but Ogier had a scare when he damaged his suspension on SS14 and had to conduct roadside repairs to get back to service.
In the Junior title battle, Hans Weijs Jr. now leads the class after Yeray Lemes had a puncture. If Weijs stays in front, he will be the category's final champion regardless of where pre-rally points leader Aaron Burkart – currently fifth under superally after his crash yesterday – finishes.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h06m28.9s
2. Petter Solberg Citroen + 44.6s
3. Dani Sordo Citroen + 55.4s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m24.6s
5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 6m22.7s
6. Matthew Wilson Ford + 7m27.1s
7. Khalid Al Qassimi Ford + 11m37.1s
8. Henning Solberg Ford + 11m42.1s
9. Ken Block Ford + 14m38.9s
10. Dennis Kuipers Ford + 16m33.0s