Leading since the start of the rally, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena slightly extended their overall lead on SS15 and SS16. The eight-time World Champions must still hold off Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen on the two runs on the legendary Ouninpohja stage.
Sébastien Loeb set the fastest times on Surkee 2 and Leustu 2. Evidence of the intensity and closeness of the battle could be seen on SS16, where Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala shared the fastest time, while Mikko Hirvonen trailed the pair by just one tenth of a second. And fourth-placed Petter Solberg was only four tenths adrift! In the overall standings, the gap between the Frenchman and the Finn is now 9.4s. Latvala is 25.4s behind Loeb, back in third place.
With the scrap between them delicately balanced since yesterday morning, both Citroën Total World Rally Team drivers are equally determined to win this Rally Finland 2012. The outcome is now likely to be determined by who fares best on the two runs on the incredible, 33km-long Ouninpohja stage. SS17 is scheduled to start at 3.37pm and the final stage will run from 6pm onwards. SS18 will also serve as the Power Stage, in which bonus points will be awarded for the top three times.
Things have been going well for the two other DS3 WRCs competing in this rally. Equally excited about taking on Ouninpohja, Thierry Neuville and Chris Atkinson set the sixth and seventh fastest times on SS16 respectively.