Jari-Matti Latvala will take a 23-second lead into the final day of Rally Sweden after managing tire wear through the Saturday afternoon stages.
With decreasing amounts of snow in places causing tires to lose their studs, most lead drivers were opting to back off on some stages to save tire life for others. This led to some fluctuations in pace, but Latvala (Ford) handled the situation well and completed the day with a comfortable cushion over Citroen rival Mikko Hirvonen.
Petter Solberg remains third in the other works Ford. Adapta Ford driver Mads Ostberg has closed in, but rued a missed opportunity when his engine switched into launch mode on SS17, causing it to cut for several hundred yards before he could reset the electrics.
Sebastien Loeb's eventful rally took another twist when he picked up a puncture on SS17. The Citroen driver had just taken sixth from enning Solberg's Go Fast Ford, fell back to share the spot with the Norwegian, then reclaimed it on the final stage. Evgeny Novikov is next in Loeb's sights, but the M-Sport Ford man has been pushing hard today and is still 44.4sec clear.
In the best of the remaining Minis, Patrik Sandell escaped a scare on SS17 when he forgot to remove a protective cover used on road sections from the car and caused it to overheat. Although stopping to remove it cost him some time, he was able to keep his eighth place.