Stage data: SS4, Dyfnant 2 (20.48 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Chris Patterson: “A very tricky stage and one of those stages where the weather can close in very quickly. You think it’s dry and there’s no fog then the next thing you have fog and rain. It’s narrow in places and famous for cutting up and the second pass is very difficult. Traditionally somebody will always get a puncture on the second pass. There’s no real flow to this stage either. You have fast places, slow places and then fast places.”
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala has extended his lead of Wales Rally GB by winning the repeat of the Dyfnant stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The Finn was 2.0s faster than Sebastien Loeb through the run and now heads the eight-time world champion by 5.3s.
“It’s going very good,” said Latvala. “I had a good feeling with the car, the only question is how the tyres will be now. The soft is the right tyre but we have to manage the tyres now because we have only one spare and it is getting drier now.”
Sebastien Loeb, who is carrying two spare tyres should his soft compound tyres suffer significant wear during the afternoon loop, said that while the stage surface was drier and less muddy, it remained very slippery, particularly under tree cover. “The stage was good, no problem,” he said. “I was pushing hard.”
Petter Solberg was third quickest, 4.2s down on Latvala but 0.8s quicker than fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg, who reported concerns about tyre wear.
Mikko Hirvonen was 4.3s down on Loeb. He said: “The car was really, really good and it feels like the driver is doing well but it’s not enough. I don’t know how the other boys can be so fast.”
Thierry Neuville said the settings of his Citroen were perhaps a little too soft, while Ott Tanak reported the powersteering fault continues to plague his M-Sport Fiesta.
Stage five of the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier gets underway at 14:38hrs local time.