Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb has extended his lead on the Rallye Deutschland this morning, despite a 'scare' on the 14.22 kilometre Birkenfelder Land 1 test.
Loeb, who started the day with a 19.9 second lead, after having won all six stages on day 1, was immediately on it again and he completed SS7 in 10 minutes 50.1 seconds, 0.3 seconds up on his team-mate Dani Sordo.
Loeb was then quickest again in SS8, 3.5 seconds up on his closest rival, before topping the times in SS9, where he 'almost' went off near the finish. Seb continued to push in SS10 however, the long run through the daunting Baumholder military training area, and he finished the loop having increased his advantage to 35.9 seconds.
"The day could hardly have got off to a better start. The conditions were entirely dry again, and I think the soft Pirelli tyres for the three Saarland stages - SS7, SS8 and SS9 - was the right call," said the Frenchman. "We then switched to the harder option for the concrete and paving of SS10 through the Baumholder military camp [after the RSZ] and that, too, paid off.
"We have succeeded in meeting the objective we set ourselves this morning, which was to extend our lead even further before returning to Trier for service. We still had to push hard, though.
"However, like yesterday, I had an excellent feeling with my car over all four stages, although we did have one scary moment about a kilometre before the end of SS9 when we came across a hay-bail chicane that had been put in a different place compared with recce. The spot was on a fast section and came just after a blind crest. It was a very close thing and I was fortunate to escape with just a scratched front right wing!"
Dani Sordo meanwhile is now second in the #2 Citroen C4 WRC, having overhauled Mikko Hirvonen in the first test of the day. The Spaniard was second best in three of the four tests and has a 14.4 second cushion over the Ford man.
"I have reverted to the set-up we chose after pre-event testing and my C4 performed superbly," said Dani. "I felt much more confident in my driving and our times have improved. We recovered second place after SS7 and we then set about consolidating our position.
"I think I would have preferred slightly harder tyres, but the soft option was the best choice first thing this morning. The decision to switch to the harder Pirellis for the morning's final stage was also the right move given how long it was, and how aggressive its surface was. We pulled out a useful gap on that one to end the first part of the second leg on a high note."