For most of the day, the Argentine – winner of the curtain-raising Azores Rallye – held a slender advantage over first Sergio Fuentes, and subsequently Andrea Mazzocchi, who won two stages to take over as Soria’s closest challenger.
Just as the Italian looked set to ramp up the pressure, however, long-time leader Soria stretched his legs on the final test to end the day 11.3sec clear of Mazzocchi, with Fuentes a further 5.0sec in arrears.
“It was a very good day for us – difficult too, to be honest,” reflected Soria. “At the beginning, our rhythm was quite low, but then we started to understand better what this rally is like. At the end of the day, we managed to settle into a very good rhythm and set some quick times.
“At the beginning of the last stage, I felt we had a bit more in reserve and I realised that if we didn’t push harder, we would lose the lead so I started to push more. In the end, it worked out well. That gives us a lot of confidence for tomorrow, when the plan will be full attack!”
- Full coverage from Rally Islas Canarias is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.