17 May 08
Italian Gigi Galli moved up to fourth place on Saturday’s penultimate, and longest, stage.
The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team driver was third fastest through the 29km test to hold a slender 0.3 sec advantage over Citroen’s Dani Sordo. Galli said he had settled into a good driving rhythm after struggling a little on the opening seven kilometres. “I’m driving at 101 percent now,’ he said at the finish.
Sordo said that although the stage had been driven by all the cars, the different lines taken by those further down the order meant there was still loose gravel on the WRC racing line, and road cleaning was still affecting his pace.
Jari-Matti Latvala was the stage winner once again and took another chunk out of his team-mate’s advantage - closing it to 2.8 seconds. After the stage Hirvonen said if it came to it, he would be content to be third on the road on Sunday and benefit from a better road position.
Rally leader Sebastien Loeb was fourth fastest and satisfied with his advantage at the end of day two. The defending champion said he was not too worried about the Fords behind, but acknowledged that Latvala was the danger man.
Unfortunately it wasn’t a great stage for the Suzuki World Rally Team. Toni Gardemeister’s SX4 WRC stopped at the 24km point after suffering rear suspension damage. Gardemeister eventually managed to get the car to the end of the stage, but he retired from the day. P-G Andersson spun at about the same place and lost 20 seconds.