It was a Ford-dominated loop again, with Latvala and team-mate Petter Solberg setting two fastest times apiece.
But while that allowed Latvala to stretch his advantage, when Solberg was not winning stages he was losing a little time to pursuer Sebastien Loeb. The gap between the second Ford and the Citroen team leader is just 6.4s.
Finn Latvala put his impressive time down to his decision to run worn tyres on the front of his Fiesta.
"The car was turning really well," said Latvala. "I'm not usually so good on these stages but this was a fast one and it seems to suit me quite well."
Mads Ostberg lost ground in the podium fight during the afternoon, feeling the decision to take two spare wheels rather than one upset the balance of his Adapta Ford. He drifted 19s away from Loeb.
Mikko Hirvonen felt much happier with his Citroen in less muddy conditions, yet that did not translate to an increase in pace. He remains a distant fifth, and is only 12s clear of M-Sport Ford's Ott Tanak, whose team-mate Evgeny Novikov is next up.
Thierry Neuville, Matthew Wilson and Martin Prokop continue to hold the remaining points-paying positions, with Chris Atkinson just outside the top 10 as he drives cautiously in Motorsport Italia's Mini.
- Sports & Recreation
- Petter Solberg
- Sebastien Loeb