Seeing the loop carved out near Al-Ula, starting and finishing at the bivouac where everyone had gathered less than two weeks ago, it was a given that this special would be a wild ride. The timed sector stretched for 371 kilometers on sandy terrain with a need for speed, either on the track or off-track, sometimes through rocky areas, but almost invariably with nuances to decipher in the road book. The showdown among the leading competitors was shaped by tricky navigation in the motorbike race and, to some extent, the risk of punctures in the car race. Ricky Brabec took a step closer to a second title, while Guerlain Chicherit and his Hilux managed to weave through the pack much faster than all his rivals on the stage. The battle between Carlos Sainz and Sébastien Loeb rages on.