SS9 Stein & Wein 1 [26.54km] - went straight into the bag of Ogier. He finished 3.5s quicker than the Citroen tarmac specialist Dani Sordo. The other Polo R driver JM Latvala & Fiesta RS driver Thiery Neuville too quickly passed through just 4s down the stage winner. Mikko Hirvonen too displayed a better driving pace [as compared to last year], although 9.4s down, still not that bad.
In WRC-2, Robert Kubica was doing his best to hold his lead, with a very close gap with Elfyn Evans, who passed to top with 2.5s overall at the end of the stage. New Zealander Hayden Paddon too took a step over and finished third overall, with Sepp Wiegand dropping to 4th overall by 3.5s.
SS10 Peterberg 1 [9.23km] - Dani Sordo, yes, the Spaniard who went fastest through the stage! Latvala & Ogier were closely down, surprising stage win indeed! Neuville & Evgeny Novikov were the next in top 5. However in WRC-2, Kubica regains his lost position, 3.6s up against Evans, and Paddon in battle with Wiegand for comfy third.
SS11 Arena Panzerplatte 1 [41.08km] - The most awaited, dreadful and longest of the rally was the next in the passing & it happened with much big drama. Of course, Ogier won the stage, as Sordo, Latvala were quickly behind in top 3 and Neuville & Mikko finished in top 5. The battle in the WRC-2 was on as in the earlier stages, between Evans & Kubica and the latter kept his top position, although the Welsh was quickest through.
A quick mid-day service separated the repetition of the morning stages in the noon, and filled the stages with real drama with the top lot of the WRC players. It had started raining in many parts of the stages and made the narrow sealed surface a lot greasy.
Neuville too did the same as the Finn, but was lucky enough to pick apiece of the timber itself all-through the stage. In the process he damaged his exhaust, lost considerable power till the stage end. Although he stopped at the transport section to pull it out and free his car of carrying the additional misery, but the retirement of Latvala put him on the top of the list, even though Sordo was faster than him. Ogier claimed the stage win, when the rest of the field were struggling. In WRC-2, the musical chair was on between Kubica and Evans, and the latter moved a step higher at the end of the stage. Paddon was third, but Wiegand very closely behind.
SS13 - with Neuville's battered Fiesta RS vs' the perfectly in shape DS3, the Spaniard flew through to win another stage, although Ogier had a perfectly functioning Polo R finished second. This also relinquished the top step to Sordo who took the rally leadership.
SS14 - But something really terrible happened before in the support category of historic class of cars, when a pair Dutch competitors crashed their historic rally car at SS Arena Panzerplatte 2. As they jumped off the Gina crest, and crashed out of the road. Despite, frantic efforts by the Medical team, it proved fatal for the duo. With this terrible tragedy in hand, the organisers cancelled the stage and so the day ended. For quite sometime, there was news/rumours flying around about organisers calling the rally to an end, however, later it was made official the rally will continue as per the next day's itinerary.
As the excitement was building up, an unfortunate incident flooded all the cheering with this really tragic news. At Ralli Heart, we extend our deepest condolences to the departed souls and their near & dear ones.
Special stage Dhrontal, opens up the final day's action, while its repetition being the 'Power Stage' will mark and decides the victory. So who will win, the Spaniard or the Belgian?
Overall top5 at the end of day 3.
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