16 May 08
Petter Solberg of the Subaru World Rally Team moved up to third place on SS5, swapping places with drivers' championship leader Mikko Hirvonen who dropped to fourth.
After struggling with the feeling of his Impreza WRC2007 on the morning’s stages, Solberg said his car felt better after the midday service - although he hadn’t had a completely trouble free run through the long 33km stage. “The changes the team made definitely made it better, said Solberg. “But I had some brake problems on the second half of that one.”
Hirvonen was sixth fastest through the stage, 12 seconds slower than the fastest driver Sebastien Loeb, but was at a loss to explain where the time had gone. “I was really pushing hard, and from my position it was a good drive, but Loeb’s coming faster and there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.
Latvala’s impressive recovery continued with another second fastest time moving him three places up the leaderboard from tenth to seventh. “I’m just trying to keep my driving calm, under control and stop making mistakes,” said Latvala.
Stage winner Loeb said he was settling into a comfortable pace but had his eye on the progress of Jari-Matti Latvala. “It was good, I had no problems,” said Sebastien. “There are not so many ruts on the road and I tried to push because Jari-Matti’s time was very fast. It’s okay though, I think I have a good rhythm now.”
Gigi Galli set the third fastest time, but said he had a small concern about a low water pressure alert which had appeared on the dashboard of his Ford Focus. “I’m trying to push hard, and I’m matching my speed against Latvala’s split times,” said Galli. “I lost a bit to him on the last part but okay, it’s alright. The car is using a little water but hopefully it’s not a big problem and we’ll be okay.”