Stage data: SS10, Pays d’Ormont 1 (43.45 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “The longest stage of the rally is a really famous stage. You have a very different style of corners, road and grip. Sometimes it’s flat, sometimes it’s bumpy and sometimes you only have two or three corners with grip then the one after is very slippery. It’s very interesting.”
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala has slipped back in his pursuit of Rallye de France Alsace leader Sebastien Lob after he went off into a ditch early in the longest stage of the FIA World Rally Championship counter.
The Finn took 18.0s more than Loeb to complete the test following his error, slipping 33.0s behind the Citroen driver in the overall classification. His advantage over third-placed Citroen pilot and countryman Mikko Hirvonen is now down to 10.8s with two stages of Saturday morning’s loop left to run.
“Suddenly we went onto a wet section, which was a surprise for me and we went into a ditch,” said the Finn, whose Ford Fiesta RS WRC was sporting front-right damage at the stage finish.
Loeb said: “We have done a good stage because we have increased our lead and we will see the gap after the stage. It’s important to keep a good rhythm and that’s what we try to do.”
Hirvonen, meanwhile, impressed with the second fastest time, 9.5s slower than Loeb. Ford privateer Mads Ostberg shone with the third fastest time with MINI’s Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville next up.
Chris Atkinson reported a “lack of feeling” aboard his WRC Team MINI Portugal entry. Nasser Al-Attiyah has stopped in the stage in his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen with reports that he’s gone off the road.