Jari-Matti Latvala is in a position to control Rally GB to the finish, reckons his Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson.
Latvala is chasing his first World Rally Championship win since Sweden in February.
The Finn added 10 seconds to his lead over Ford team-mate Petter Solberg on Saturday morning's three stages close to the Epynt military ranges and is now 22s ahead.
Sebastien Loeb is still in third, but broke Ford's string of fastest stage times by going quickest on Epynt. He has closed to within 3.9s of Solberg.
"We're very happy with the way the first half of the event has gone for us and Jari-Matti is in a position where he is controlling things at the front," said Wilson.
"That's the plan for the remainder of the event. He just needs to keep an eye on what Sebastien's doing.
"Obviously, it's a slightly different case for Petter - he's in a different situation needing to stay ahead of Loeb."
Wilson added that Ford's defeat on Rally Finland, traditionally one of its strongest gravel rounds, was a big wake-up call.
"Nobody takes kindly to that sort of thing," said Wilson. "Don't get me wrong, we have put in a huge amount of development into this car, but after Finland we have come up with some more developments in the damper area ourselves."
Privateer Ford drivers are also showing well in Wales. Mads Ostberg is just 12.2s behind Loeb, and along with fellow M-Sport drivers Ott Tanak and Evgeny Novikov made history in Crychan as they combined to win every sector split of the stage - the first time this has been done by privateer drivers. Ostberg won the stage overall.
- Petter Solberg
- Sebastien Loeb