The Sleeping Warrior (31.04km) stage completed the morning loop before the return to service at Navaisha. Sordo pushed harder on the faster opening kilometres and eased off over the rock-strewn final tracks to post an impressive target time of 17min 44.0sec.
Most of his rivals erred on the side of caution on the deteriorating surface and Ogier was the first to beat the Spaniard’s opening run. The Frenchman was quickest with a time of 17min 26.6sec and shaved another 5.9 seconds off Tänak in the battle for third.
Fourmaux’s roof vent came off and let in vast quantities of dust. The issue cost the Frenchman valuable seconds and he ceded another 16.1 seconds to Greensmith in the battle for fifth. Katsuta beat Neuville by 0.8 seconds and reduced the deficit to 28.1 seconds.
Onkar Rai continued to lead the way in WRC3 in eighth overall at the start of the stage, but rival Daniel Chwist stopped after 3.4km of stage nine.