Stage data: SS4, Soultzeren-Pays Welche 1 (19.93 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “This is a new stage for everybody. It’s uphill at the beginning, very wide and not bumpy at all. With the World Rally Car it should be a very beautiful stage inside the car for a crew. The finish is downhill and it’s possible to attack in this stage because it’s new for everybody. The grip is good and if the pace notes are efficient then we hope to push in this stage.”
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala has won Friday’s third stage to close to within 7.5s of Rallye de France Alsace leader Sebastien Loeb heading to the midday remote service in Colmar.
Ford driver Latvala took 9m49.2s to complete the 19.93-kilometre course, which was 0.1s quicker than Loeb managed in his Citroen. “It’s going in the right direction and I’m very happy to be on the pace,” said Latvala, who is running soft-compound tyres on all four corners of his Fiesta. “I had to take little risks in the middle but overall I’m happy with the performance. It was really fast in the downhill section and the car was moving a bit.”
Loeb, meanwhile, is using hard-compound Michelin tyres at the front of his Citroen DS3 WRC and soft tyres at the rear. He said: “I don’t know if it’s the best choice but I had to be careful in the fast dry section because of the rear tyres. The middle part was really tricky.”
Petter Solberg said he made adjustments to the settings of his car and driving style on his way to third fastest in his Fiesta, 3.7s down on team-mate Latvala.
Thierry Neuville had been on course for a top time but lost ground in the downhill section due to the settings of his Citroen being too soft for the conditions. Nevertheless he has moved ahead of MINI pilot Dani Sordo into fourth overall. Citroen’s Mikko Hirvonen, who was fifth quickest, reckoned his pace notes weren’t fast enough.