For a pace-setting night, Evans was able to briefly increase his lead over Championship leader Ravanper after winning the start of the day before Ravanper responded to reduce the gap to 10.2 seconds.

Evans then confirmed his power in the morning to win the final stage of the cycle to open the lead to 18.4 seconds from Ravanper.

The struggle for the place left on the podium has intensified Takamota Katsuta jump from Hyundai Data Sord in third place overall. The Toyota driver secured a temporary exit in the top three for the Japanese brand, completing the cycle by 1 m19.7 s behind Evans, but 3.5 s ahead of Sorda.

Next back, nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb and eight-time champion Sebastian Auger returned to battle after leaving Friday’s stages, but both faced challenges.

Loeb suffered a power loss in the 11th stage from his Ford Puma, which led to the Frenchman leaving the rally for the second time in two days. Ogier’s longtime rival also ran into problems on the same stage, crashing into a shore that left him on a hillside.

Kale Ravanpera, Jon Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo: Toyota Racing

Cloudy and humid conditions with the threat of rain welcomed the crews at the start of the longest day of the rally, which ran nearly 165 kilometers.

Evans, equipped with fresh rubber, started the morning in great shape when the Welshman moved on to his fifth rally victory, beating Ravanper by 1.3 seconds.

That was enough to extend his nightly advantage to 14.9 seconds, as Ravanpera admitted that “perhaps in some places he was not clean enough” and he was prevented from gaining extra weight by wearing a second spare wheel. Katsuta was third in speed as he took part of the time in Sorda.

This proved to be a difficult stage for M-Sport, both Loeb and Craig Brin struggled on a slippery gravel road after a failed decision to put two hard tires on the front axle.

M-Sport Pierre-Louis Lube lost time up to half a spin as he also struggled to buy while a teammate Gus Greensmith received a third puncture during the event when his front right came off the rim. Greensmith lost the 59s by changing the steering wheel, which reduced the Briton from fifth to eighth.

The 11th stage brought a lot of drama, starting with the fact that Loeb lost significant engine power, which led to him stopping to perform a reset, but it failed to fix the problem by finishing his day earlier.

A few moments later Auger lost control of his GR Yaris at speed, trimming the shore before stopping, uncertainly breaking out on the edge of the road. He eventually reached the finish line stage once the car was restored after passing the Rally1 field.

M-Sport Adrien Furmo suffered a rotation when it started to rain a little, but luckily it was able to continue.

At the sharp end, Ravanper won the stage, retreating from Evans ’lead by 4.7 seconds as Katsuta continued to bite off Sorda in the battle for third place.

Evans reacted immediately in the 12th stage, the longest rally, 37.24 km long, making the most of the tire advantage over Ravanpera to push his lead to a healthy break.

Katsuta jumped Sorda to third as he failed to match the pace of the three Toyota on the front.

Thierry Neville, Martin Vide, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neville, Martin Vide, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

Strong run from Thierry Neville helped the Belgian finish the cycle in fifth place overall by jumping over Lube for that position. Brin reached noon service in seventh place ahead of Greensmith and From Tanaklagging more than four minutes after a pair of punctures on Friday.

The rally will continue this afternoon in four more stages.

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