Stage data: SS17, Port Talbot 2 (17.35 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Chris Patterson: “The whole day is very tough from the start. It’s the old Margam stage even though it doesn’t finish in Margam Park. It’s a stage where Petter excels on if you think back to 2003 when he won the title by taking all that time out of Sebastien Loeb. It’s a different variation of that stage but it’s in that area. It’s a real drivers’ stage. The surface is very hard and very fast. If it’s wet it’s incredibly slippery because it’s nearly down to the hard rock base all the time. If it’s dry it’s incredibly enjoyable, it’s fast and it flows and there aren’t so many hanging trees.”
How the action unfolded:
Petter Solberg has retaken second place on Wales Rally GB by outpacing Sebastien Loeb through the repeat of the Port Talbot stage.
Solberg, in a factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 3.2s quicker than the Citroen DS3 WRC of Loeb through the stage to move 0.3s ahead of the eight-time world champion in the overall classification. Afterwards Solberg said: “The car worked very well, let’s just stay focused and not do any mistakes.”
Loeb said: “He seems to be faster than me in this one so we will see what we can do. Again in the afternoon we struggle a little bit more.”
Event leader Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest in his Fiesta. His overall advantage with two stages remaining is 28.1s.
Having struggled for pace for much of the event, Finn Mikko Hirvonen impressed with the fifth fastest time in the second works Citroen, 6.4s down on Solberg. However, he was unable to make up any ground on Mads Ostberg in fourth overall after the Norwegian went 0.2s faster than him - his engine misfire having been cured at midday service.
Ott Tanak has stopped in the stage with the front-right wheel missing from his M-Sport Fiesta. The young Estonian had been in a solid sixth place at the time. Tanak’s team-mate Evgeny Novikov moves into sixth as a result.
Matthew Wilson reported the misfire that plagued his M-Sport Fiesta during Sunday morning has been cured after going seventh fastest, while Nasser Al-Attiyah dropped time when he spun his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen, which dropped on to ‘safe mode’ as he attempted to continue.
Paulo Nobre is out after retiring on the road section heading to the stage with a reported battery problem on his WRC Team MINI Portugal WRC.