Sebastien Loeb stormed away from the field on the second afternoon of the Rally of Spain.
The World Champion extended his advantage over nearest pursuer Jari-Matti Latvala from 18.9 to 27sec through Saturday's second loop. Ford driver Latvala had tried his utmost to stay in touch with Loeb's Citroen, but had to concede defeat and admit that the Frenchman – in his last event as a full-time World Rally driver – was still a class apart on asphalt.
Overnight leader Mads Ostberg went into freefall during the afternoon. Initially suspecting setup issues, Ostberg eventually wondered if something was broken on his Adapta Ford given its lack of pace and "horrible" handling. He has now dropped back behind Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak to fifth. Tanak has shown increasingly impressive speed during leg two and is only 14sec behind third-placed Hirvonen with one day to go.
Dani Sordo was the overall pacesetter during the afternoon once morning electrical issues on his Mini had been resolved at service. The Spaniard is running under Rally 2 following his Friday crash, however, meaning his string of stage wins will only get him to the cusp of the top 20.
Leading positions after SS12:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h16m14.1s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 27.0s
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 1m14.1s
4. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 1m28.8s
5. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 1m31.4s
6. Hans Weijs Qatar Citroen + 9m02.9s
7. Craig Breen Kel-Tech Ford + 12m26.2s
8. Evgeny Novikov Autotek Ford + 13m25.1s
9. Jarkko Nikara Prodrive Mini + 13m39.1s
10. PG Andersson Proton + 15m45.5s