The repeated 22km Fiorentini test seriously damaged Sebastien Loeb’s chances of success this weekend and turned out to be the most chaotic stage of the event - and probably the season - so far.
First to hit trouble was Stobart Ford driver Henning Solberg, who stopped and retired 6.8km from the start with broken right-hand front suspension.
Soon after, rally leader Jari-Matti had a lucky escape when he spun his Ford Focus on the short asphalt section midway through. He finished the stage with the third fastest time and his lead intact.
World Champion Sebastien Loeb was the next to hit trouble. Five seconds fastest at the 10km split, the Frenchman picked up a puncture soon after and drove for 3km before deciding he would damage his car if he carried on and he had to stop and change it.
Two minutes would be a lightning quick time for a WRC tyre change, but incredibly Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena managed the job in just one. The time lost dropped him to fourth overall, 1min 33.1sec adrift of Latvala’s lead.
Worse was to come for Citroen, however, when Loeb’s team-mate Dani Sordo slowed dramatically because of a suspected turbo problem. The Spaniard was fifth going into the stage, but had dropped to eighth by the end.
Shortly after the stage end Conrad Rautenbach became another addition to the Citroen casualty list. The Zimbabwean parked by the roadside with his Citroen’s left-hand front damper poking through the bonnet of his C4 WRC. He retired from the day.
The stage was won by Petter Solberg, who after Loeb's problems was up to third overall and was the best placed Citroen driver in the rally.