BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen
has conceded that he 'must' take full advantage now and notch up the win in Poland to make the most of Sebastien Loeb's second crash in as many events.
Hirvonen, who lies second in the drivers' standings – seven points behind Seb, established himself at the head of the leaderboard this morning his M-Sport-run Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.
He then remained there throughout the day to build an overnight lead of 8.9 seconds over his team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala.
"I want 10 points from here and after Loeb's accident I must think about the championship now," Hirvonen confirmed. "After I saw Loeb's car off the road I eased my pace because I didn't want to make the same mistake.
"I had marked the tree stump that he hit in my pace notes and actually discussed it with Jari-Matti before we started this morning. It's a new rally with new pace notes so that kind of accident can happen to anyone.
"I can't afford though to do anything stupid tomorrow. We must take full advantage of this situation over the next two days. Start order isn't an issue here so I have no concerns about being first on the road tomorrow."
As for his pace in the penultimate test of the day, when he stunned his rivals with a time more than eight seconds faster than anyone else in just 11.34 kilometres of competition, he added that he was just in the 'zone'.
"My stage win this afternoon was fantastic. I had the kind of feeling that I can't describe," he continued. "The conditions this afternoon weren't as bad as we feared however. There were only a few ruts.
"I really enjoy driving these stages. They are my type of roads, with something happening all the time."
Meanwhile BP Ford
Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson described Hirvonen and Latvala's performances today as 'classy'.
"Mikko has led for virtually the entire day and both drove sensibly, taking on board the significance of Loeb's error this morning and perfectly factoring it into their driving for the rest of the day. Both cars ran faultlessly on what are some of the fastest stages in the WRC calendar. These fast roads clearly suit our Finnish drivers," he summed-up.