Poland’s Robert Kubica lies second in a Citroen DS3 RRC with New Zealander Hayden Paddon completing the podium 1min 55sec further adrift on his return to the WRC in a Skoda Fabia S2000.
Ketomaa started with a 24.0sec lead and won all four morning tests to widen the margin to 64.5sec. He received a 10sec time penalty for arriving late at SS12 after changing a puncture, but managed his pace seamlessly over rutted afternoon roads.
“It was perfect, like yesterday,” said Ketomaa. “Yesterday the roads were more enjoyable because the conditions were better. The second pass this afternoon was quite bad. I know tomorrow’s stages well, but it’s not finished yet.”
Kubica damaged his car’s radiator after sliding wide to avoid a rock this morning, but the ex-Formula 1 driver was otherwise untroubled.
“We were lucky to be able to continue this morning. We were surprised by the big ruts and the tough conditions this afternoon and we made a mistake with the set-up, which was too low,” he explained.
Paddon climbed to third in the opening stage and was only 20sec behind Kubica until he broke a steering arm after striking a rock in the penultimate test. He had no chance to make repairs before the last stage but remained satisfied.
“It would have been nice to take the fight to Robert tomorrow but we just need to look after our podium spot now,” said Paddon.
Yazeed Al Rajhi is 36.2sec behind Paddon in a Fiesta RRC, while Edoardo Bresolin and Juha Salo complete the top six.
Elfyn Evans, third after the opening leg, broke his Fiesta R5’s suspension in the opening stage this morning. His rally ended before lunchtime with an engine oil leak. He will not restart tomorrow.
Esapekka Lappi was hot on Paddon’s tail until broken rear suspension sidelined his Skoda Fabia S2000 this afternoon. Karl Kruuda’s bid for a podium ended with afternoon problems, including a broken anti-roll bar, on his Fiesta R5.