The penultimate stage of the Rally New Zealand is turning into a nightmare for Ford after Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala and Francois Duval all ran into problems.

Hirvonen's woes are the most significant after suffering a puncture towards the end of the stage, a problem that would prompt him into a spin to lose further precious seconds. In all, Hirvonen has lost 57.1secs to new leader Loeb, while the Finn has also dropped behind Dani Sordo now too.

Earlier in the stage Latvala was forced to retire when he struck a rock and damaged the underside of his car. To complete an astonishingly bad stage for Ford so close to the finish, Duval has also stopped after apparently crashing off.

Just one more stage remains, with Loeb leading Sordo and Hirvonen now, while Petter Solberg has leapt up to fourth with Urmo Aava fifth.

Meanwhile, Per-Gunnar Andersson and Conrad Rautenbach have also lost time.

Full report to follow after following stage

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