Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb
is in a dominant position at the end of day two of the Corona Rally Mexico, the third round in the 2008 FIA World Rally
Loeb began the second leg 9.6 seconds adrift of Jari-Matti Latvala
having been unable to keep up with him on Friday, however he slashed that margin to just one tenth of a second in SS9, the first stage of the day.
Seb then overhauled the Ford driver in SS10 and took the lead for the very first time. He eventually returned to the mid-day service in Leon with a 5.8 second cushion.
In the afternoon the four-time world champion continued to pull away, doubling his lead to 12.9 seconds in SS12, before Jari was slowed by mechanical problems in SS13 and SS14, which dropped him right out of contention.
Loeb consequently finished with a lead of over a minute and is now all but assured of the victory, assuming his engine, which played up in the shakedown, goes the distance and doesn't let him down on the final day.
"We were pushing. In the afternoon we found a good rhythm and then Jari had his problem," said Loeb. "Now we need to keep the pace until the finish."
Latvala meanwhile, who had been so strong on day 1, lost out this morning due to his position in the order. He was only sixth fastest in SS9 and while he adapted to running first on the road better in SS10 and SS11, setting the third and fourth fastest times respectively, he was unable to stay in front.
Jari was then unable to try and come back at Loeb in the afternoon when his car let him down in Duarte 2. The BP Ford
Abu Dhabi driver lost over 40 seconds in SS13 and then conceded more time in SS14. He finished the day over two minutes off Loeb and over a minute off Chris Atkinson, who moved up to second.
Atkinson had a solid day and while he noted that he was pushing as hard as possible, he was keen to avoid any stupid mistakes. The Aussie set top five times in all the 'proper' stages and is well on the way to notching up his best ever result in the WRC.