Estonian Ott Tanak stormed into the lead after blitzing two of the three stages in Friday’s second loop.
The leaderboard had a shake-up after the midday service. Erstwhile rally leader Elfyn Evans found the going tricky, complaining about the slippery stages.
Teemu Suninen won stage four to take the rally lead by 3.8 seconds but it was short-lived as Tanak was on a charge.
The M-Sport Ford Puma star won both stages five and six to hold a 4.2 second overnight lead from the leading Hyundai of Suninen. Evans held on to third place but Kalle Rovapera – running first on the road lost fourth to Thierry Neuville in the day’s final stage after losing time with a half-spin. Neuville had been unhappy with his car’s handling the whole day but made some set-up changes for the afternoon stint.
Takamoto Katsuta is sixth overall, admitting his driving wasn’t up to his usual standard and had a big moment in SS5 when he landed badly after a big jump, running up a steep embankment. “We had a massive moment in this one, so I don’t know how we got away with that one!” the Japanese driver reported. “The rear wing is on so that’s good news for me”.
Sami Pajari heads the Rally2 fight by 13.3 seconds from Oliver Solberg