Ott Tanak extended his advantage at the head of Rally Sweden as Kris Meeke became his closest rival following problems for Andreas Mikklesen on SS6 after the service park
Tanak held a small advantage of just 0.8s following the morning stages, and had recovered superbly following a spin during the morning. Throughtout the afternoon, he continued to show the rapid pace he had produced earlier in the day and extended his lead to 22.8s ahead of nearest challenger Meeke, who was having a strong event and was still within touching distance of Tanak with two days of the rally still to go. Meeke was able to move into second place after Mikklesen took a puncture on SS6 with no spare tyre, ending a strong challenge for the podium after leading the rally initially in the morning. Mikklesen is now in seventh place and nearly a minute off the rally lead, with teammates Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville, as well as Craig Breen and Sebastien Ogier ahead of him.
Neuville and Ogier had strong days considering they were the first two to hit the road and were the effective road sweepers. Ogier had looked very strong in the morning, just under five seconds behind the rally lead but despite keeping it clean in the afternoon, he dropped down the order. He ended the day in fifth and 36.4s behind Tanak. Neuville meanwhile had a better run, and leapfrogged Ogier and teammate Sordo, which will in turn help him close back up to Ogier in the championship if he can stay ahead of the championship leader. Craiig Breen, back in the Citroen after Sebastien Loeb took over for the last two rounds, is closing in on Ogier and enjoying a good run on his return to the competition. Breen of course took second place in his last event back in Sweden.
Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen also suffered punctures during the afternoon, leaving them down in eight and 10th with Elfyn Evans in between them in ninth, the 2017 Rally GB winner having another off colour event. Jari-Matti Latvala is officially out of the rally, the damage he sustained on SS3 more substantial than first thought with repairs also needed to the car’s engine oil lubrication system. He will not restart on Saturday as originally planned.