Stage data: SS6, Vallee de Munster 2 (22.16 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “Half of this stage is in vineyards, a bit like in Germany, but the second fast is in a forest. This section is quite slow and it can be wet under the trees. There are several cuts as well so it can be muddy. The Tarmac is quite old so the grip is not so good. It helps to be as far as front on the road as possible, otherwise you need to hope for dry conditions.”
How the action unfolded:
Petter Solberg has closed up to within 4.6s of Mikko Hirvonen as the fight for third place on Rallye de France Alsace intensifies.
Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, the Norwegian was 1.9s quicker than Hirvonen. He said: “We have a much better tyre compound and it’s a much better feeling. I was leading Loeb after two kilometres but I am satisfied with my time.”
Citroen ace Hirvonen said: “I consistently lose a bit of time here and there so I am not so happy but I try to fight back. It was better than in the morning.”
Out front, Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala has won his second stage of the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier to trim Citroen-driving Sebastien Loeb’s overall lead to 12.4s
“I tried to stay as much on the Tarmac as possible,” said Latvala. “I struggled on the first one with too much gravel on the road and I made mistakes. It’s difficult but I try to keep the fight going with him.”
Thierry Neuville said he struggled to see the road in places because of the sun. He was 7.4s slower than Latvala and remains in sixth overall behind MINI runner Dani Sordo, who reported brake problems.