While Neuville and Gilsoul (Hyundai i20) scored their 11th stage win of the rally during the leg, it was Verschueren and Hostens (Skoda Fabia) who were the fastest, taking three stage wins in the 50km loop. They took stage wins on the Reninge, Watou and Westouter-Boeschepe stages. As a result they were able to stretch their lead on their Belgian Champion rivals of Princen-Eelbode. Cherain-Cuvelier (Skoda Fabia) are now in fourth, dropping time in that loop to be 1:30 off the lead.
The major change in the top 10 was Bedoret-Walbrecq (Skoda Fabia) passing Cronin-Galvin (Hyundai i20) for 6th place. At the moment, Freddy Loix's protégé and Skoda Belgium are driving a great rally and confirming his positive reputation. Demaerschalk-Vanneste (Citroën C3) dropped out on Watou meaning that Kobus-De Wild (Skoda Fabia), Vanneste-Snaet (Skoda Fabia), and McCormack-Moynihan (Skoda Fabia) round out the top 10.
Another big name to exit the rally was Mévius-Wydaeghe (Peugeot 208 T16) who crashed on Westouter-Boeschepe. He had just entered the top 10 that he then relinquished to McCormack.
Snijers-Thierie remain at the head of the Porsche battle with a lead of more than five minutes from the next 911, that of Tanghe-Squedin. In RC4, the battle continues between Williams-Whittock's Vauxhall Adam and Pyck-Mourisse's Peugeot, now separated by just 12 seconds. Unfortunately for Creighton-Regan, they crashed on Watou and did not continue, Wagemans-Hanssens is now on the the last step of the podium, but is not involved in a battle after also losing 1 minute on that same stage.
While the first half of the day has passed, there is still more than 90 km to compete against the clock; and anything can happen.
Demaerschalk: Retirement (touchette)
From de Mévius: Retirement (exit / barrel)