Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) is dead set on fighting Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing) for the title until the last metre! The man from Oz was the fastest W2RC entrant today, leapfrogging Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports) and Pablo Quintanilla (Monster Energy Honda) to seize the lead while the Argentinian remained stuck in fifth place. Moreover, Price is now the virtual championship leader: he started the race 9 points down and has already gained 13 on Benavides. An epic showdown beckons from now until the finish!
Romain Dumontier (Dumontier Racing) won the Rally2 special with 1′06″ in hand over Jean-Loup Lepan (Duust Diverse Racing). "Dudu", the W2RC leader and second in the rally, behind Bradley Cox (BAS Word KTM Racing), struck gold today, extending his buffer over Paolo Lucci (BAS World KTM Racing), his rival for the title, to 11′16″. Cheikh-Yves Jacquemain (Africa Rallye Team) won the stage and cemented his overall lead in Rally3. Ardit Kurtaj (Xraids Experience) is home and dry after Massimo Camurri (McDonald's Rally Team) withdrew from the race. Manuel Andújar (Drag'On) still dominates the quad race ahead of Juraj Varga (Varga Motorsport Team). The W2RC leader, Laisvydas Kancius (Story Racing), ran into mechanical trouble.
In the FIA competition, Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport), clinched the stage win and Sébastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) moved up to second place in the rally, behind Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing). As it stands, the Frenchman would make up his 8-point deficit to Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing) in the battle for third place in the championship. The Argentinian, currently sixth, has two days to try and turn the tables. In a dramatic turn of events, the W2RC leader in T3, Mitch Guthrie (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA by BFG), succumbed to mechanical problems. His teammates, Austin Jones and Seth Quintero, were 3 and 9 points back, which means Quintero is now in control of the rally and the virtual championship lead, with Jones third in the race! Nothing will be certain before the last special. João Ferreira (South Racing Can-Am) beat Sebastián Guayasamín (FN Speed) by a nose's width in T4. The Portuguese driver, a whopping 2 h 26′24″ ahead of Rebecca Busi (FN Speed) in the overall, seems assured of victory. Martin Macík (MM Technology) and Janus van Kasteren (Boss Machinery Team De Rooy) continued their virtuoso performances in T5. The Czech leader of the rally is cranking up the pressure on the Dutchman, with just 11 points separating the two juggernauts in the championship.