Stage data: SS3, Myherin 1 (27.88 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Chris Patterson: “The stage has remained unchanged for the last couple of years which is something we really enjoy as drivers. We have a record to break because we know the stage is unchanged. It climbs up a brand new road built for the wind turbines and because there’s trucks going in there all the time it’s super smooth and super wide and if you can get a good clean line through you’ll have a really good stage. That’s about 50 per cent of the stage. Then you slot off to the right and it gets a lot more narrow and a lot rougher. You have to be careful with the stones that just seem to fall off the slde of the road. If it’s wet then it’s very slippery under the trees where you have a layer of grime.”
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala has shot into the lead of Wales Rally GB with a sensational run through Myherin, which he describes as his favourite stage of the FIA World Rally Championship event.
The Ford World Rally Team driver was 5.4s faster than Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb with team-mate Petter Solberg 9.7s down on the flying Finn. As a result, Solberg slips from first to third in the overall classification with Loeb second, 3.3s adrift of Latvala.
“This is my favourite stage, I always like to get into this stage,” said Latvala. “I had a moment in Hafren Sweet Lamb on a slippery right-hander and pushed the tyre off the rim. There was a massive vibration after that, I lost concentration and it took the time to get a feeling. We need more stages like this one.”
Loeb, who briefly moved into the lead only for Latvala to go faster, said: “I’ve done a really good stage and the fight with the Fords is really hard so we have to push. It’s very slippery, you have some big slides and it’s difficult to keep the car on the road.”
Solberg put his time loss down to his decision to carry only one fresh tyre to bolt on to his Fiesta during the morning loop. Meanwhile, Mads Ostberg rued using his old pace notes for the stage after slipping from third to fourth overall after going 13.9s slower than Latvala. “It was not a good stage for us,” said Ostberg. “We decided to make new pace notes for all stages except this one and we couldn’t get a good rhythm, push or drive in the way I wanted.”
Mikko Hirvonen reported going wide in places in his Citroen after completing the stage 11.8s slower than team-mate Loeb with the fourth best time.
Crews are now heading to a 15-minute remote service halt in Newtown. Stage four, the repeat of Dyfnant goes live at 13:13hrs local time.