Stage data: SS10, Crychan 2 (19.50 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Chris Patterson: “It’s slightly different to previous years. Fifty per cent hasn’t been used since 2008. About halfway we turn on to what is the traditional stage. It’s a fantastic stage, super fast and the key to this stage is carrying the speed because the corners are so fast but very blind. The way the trees hang over the corners means you can’t see the corners at all so it’s really needs huge commitment. It’s a beautiful stage to drive and when you get to the finish if you’ve done a good time it’s a good feeling.”
How the action unfolded:
Petter Solberg has responded to Sebastien Loeb’s threat by winning the repeat of the Crychan stage to open up a slender advantage of 6.5s over the eight time winner of the FIA World Rally Championship in the battle for second place.
Solberg, in factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 0.5s faster than the impressive Ott Tanak through the run with Evgeny Novikov third fastest. He is now 20.5s behind team-mate and overall leader Jari-Matti Latvala, who admitted to trying to conserve his soft compound tyres for the drying stage surface. Loeb, meanwhile, was fifth fastest in his Citroen DS3 WRC, 2.6s slower than Solberg.
Mads Ostberg said his decision to carry two spares in his Adapta Fiesta had prevented a repeat of his stage win on Crychan this morning. “I tried really but I’ve never got the car perfect running on two spares,” he said after going sixth quickest.
Chris Atkinson was the only driver to run entirely on hard compound Michelin tyres. The WRC Team MINI Portugal driver, who was 12th fastest, said: “It was not perfect for sure because it was more muddy than I expected so we were sliding around a lot but hopefully it will be okay for the next stage.”