Former world champion Petter Solberg turned back the clock to lead 2 after an enthralling duel with Pierre-Louis Loubet.

The Norwegian, outright winner in Britain on four occasions and competing in his final rally after a glittering career, traded the lead with the Frenchman three times before ending with a 12.5sec advantage in his Volkswagen Polo R5.

Petter Solberg is on the verge of an emotional farewell success

Adrien Fourmaux was a distant third in his Fiesta, more than 2min 30sec adrift of fellow countryman Loubet. Marco Bulacia was fourth in a Fabia, only a 20sec penalty for arriving late at a control keeping him out of third. Fabio Andolfi eased ahead of Alberto Heller in fifth and sixth.

Championship leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz retired his Polo for the second time in two days, a gearbox problem sidelining the Pole.

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