Gus Greensmith held second for most of the afternoon before a water pump problem in his Ford Fiesta R5 ahead of the penultimate speed test left the Briton more than four minutes adrift in third.

Pierre-Louis Loubet was a force to be reckoned with during Friday’s stages.

Pierre-Louis Loubet was the dominant force in  2. The Frenchman, driving a Fabia, led all day to end with a 35.7sec lead over veteran former world champion Petter Solberg, a four-time outright winner of Rally GB and competing in his final rally.

Solberg, at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo, held off Adrien Fourmaux by 3.4sec. Teenage Bolivian Marco Bulacia was a minute off the lead in fourth in another Fabia, with Alberto Heller and Fabio Andolfi completing the top six.

Oliver Solberg, who only passed his driving test last week, made an early exit from his debut with broken steering in his Polo.

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