27 Jan 08
Third placed Chris Atkinson picked up his pace on the repeat run of the SS15/SS17 test but a stage win from Francois Duval enabled the Belgian to narrow the gap by another 0.5sec.
"That was better, but I didn't do a good enough job on the first pass," said Atkinson. "Francois is very quick on this stage, especially on the downhill section. He must be as brave, or as stupid, as I am".
With just one 6km mountain stage and the Monaco Superspecial remaining, 27-year-old Duval trails Atkinson by just 3.5sec. "It's been good today", said Duval. "I'll try hard on the next one, and try and keep in the same rhythm."
If the battle for third goes down to the Superspecial then Atkinson - who lives in Monaco - may well prove tough to beat. In 2007 he set the fastest time around the 2.7km circuit and snatched fourth place from Mikko Hirvonen.