Ligato was leading second-placed Ramona Karlsson by over two minutes until the Swede went off the road and her Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X caught fire. Karlsson and co-driver Miriam Walfridsson were unharmed but the all-female pairing were forced to retire from the event.
“Today has been another good day for us,” said Ligato, who now leads the production category by over five minutes. “The car has been perfect, and now all we have to do is keep the car on the road to ensure we make it through tomorrow’s stages. We’ve not had a win in this category for over ten years so it would be brilliant to be take the victory tomorrow.”
Indonesia's Subhan Aksa was on a flier through today’s special stages and secured six out of seven stage wins at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. After finishing yesterday in sixth place, the driver’s stunning performance has seen Aksa and New Zealand co-driver Jeff Judd catapulted into second place.
Valeriy Gorban was third until problems with the engine and differential on his Mitsubishi cost him over six minutes. The Ukrainian is now fifth going into the final day, 4m33.2s behind Oleksii Kikireshko.
Mexico’s Ricardo Trivino, also driving a Mitsubishi, took advantage of both Gorban and Karlsson’s misfortunes to move into third. After a trouble-free day Ukraine's Kikireshko is fourth, 36.6s adrift of Trivino.
Italian driver Gianluca Linari is lying sixth at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza, whilst Briton Louise Cook is seventh after battling through today’s stages set close to the northern city of Whangerai in a Ford Fiesta ST.