Sebastien Loeb stretched his Rally of Spain lead to 32.8 seconds over Jari-Matti Latvala as the event moved onto asphalt for its remaining two days.
Yesterday's gravel stages had been Loeb's rivals' chance to strike, particularly with the championship leader running first on the road. But punctures and incidents delayed both Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier, giving Loeb a half-minute cushion overnight.
The Citroen driver pulled a little further away by winning today's first two stages, before Latvala (Ford) took a few seconds back by going quickest on Punta de les Torres. Ogier's hopes of at least getting back on the podium took a dive when he picked up another puncture on today's opener, El Priorat.
"This time I was completely in the middle of the road," said the extremely frustrated Ogier. "Yesterday was my fault, but this time I really don't know."
That delay dropped the Citroen from fourth to sixth behind the Minis, although he has already reclaimed fifth from Kris Meeke.
Mikko Hirvonen remains third for Ford, but has been at a loss to explain his lack of pace as he fell a minute away from his second-placed teammate. He still has a 46.8s advantage over Dani Sordo (Mini) in fourth.