Petter Solberg was in a very despondent mood following the second day of action on Rally New Zealand as he resigns himself to the fact that he isn't in a position to challenge the leaders on stage times.

The new Subaru Impreza had been touted as a big step forward for the former champions, but while it showed well on the high-speed Rally Finland, the car has been unable to transfer similar kind of form onto the New Zealand event.

On the plus side, reliability from the car has been good, but Solberg was frustrated to be languishing down in seventh place after complaining of a lack of grip through the slower sections of the stages.

"The car was a lot better than yesterday, but it's been another tough day. A lot of the stages were very narrow, and when you struggle for confidence it really shows in the times. We made some adjustments to the dampers for the last stage and it wasn't bad, but we still have more work to do.

"I'm just driving, saying what I feel, and letting the engineers work on the car and come up with the ideas. We're just lacking overall grip here, that's what we need to find. On the fast and flat stuff, like the last stage, we're not bad, but on the twisty it's very difficult to push and that's where we're losing time."

Chris Atkinson, meanwhile, is on the comeback trail after restarting the event under SupeRally. Also struggling with his set-up, a few strong top ten times towards the end of the day nonetheless gives the Australian driver confidence the car is beginning to show its potential.

"This afternoon was better and we were able to push for some better times but overall today has not been good. We had some problems with the suspension struts that meant the car wasn't damping properly, but after we changed them in service it was better.

"We've still got a lot to learn with this new car and it's frustrating that we're in this position as from testing we know this car can perform far better. The guys did a great job on the car last night to turn it round in time, and I'd like to thank them all."