Mads Ostberg's hopes of hanging onto Sebastien Ogier's coat-tails into the final day of Rally Finland were dealt a severe blow on SS14.

The Norwegian, who had led after the morning loop, was still holding down second spot to Ogier entering the penultimate stage of day, but emerged from the return run through Lankamaa with a deflated left front tyre, the result of a broken rim.

"Unbelievable!" Ostberg fumed at the end of the stage, "It's just a lottery now - with ruts everywhere."

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The incident, which cost in excess of 25 seconds, was enough to drop the Ford driver to third place, behind fellow Fiesta RS WRC pilot Thierry Neuville, who at least had some good news to celebrate after a tough day.

The Belgian had led overnight, but fell away to fourth place after his own tyre problem a couple of stages earlier. Although successive problems for Mikko Hirvonen and then Ostberg has now allowed Neuville to return to second spot, he enters the evening's superspecial nearly 40 seconds adrift of Ogier.

"I had to be careful in the stages to not puncture the tyres as I have no more spares," the Belgian admitted, underlining the perils of increasingly rutted Finnish stages, "So far, no mistakes from our side - I had to be very careful, but we made it through."

Kris Meeke, who took off over one particularly bad rut on SS14, is now within 35 seconds of fourth place, but could see that much of that margin wiped out should he be handed back the 30 or so seconds he lost behind an uncompromising Evgeny Novikov on SS8. The matter remains in the hands of the stewards.