Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb has increased his cushion on the Rally Mexico this afternoon and now looks well placed to win the second round in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

Loeb, who moved into the lead in the second test today, began the afternoon loop 17.8 seconds up on Petter Solberg. However he continued to push, winning SS14 to stretch his lead to 30.5 seconds. He was quickest again in SS15 too, before taking his seventh stage win on the trot in SS16. Following the two super specials he ended the day with a 55.5 second cushion.

"It was a really, really perfect day," Loeb reflected. "I made no mistakes and was on the limit all the time to increase my lead."

Petter Solberg meanwhile slipped to third in Ibarrilla 2, when he was 3.7 seconds slower than Sebastien Ogier. The Norwegian responded though in the next test and now lies 2.7 seconds in front after his rival slowed in order to ensure he will have a better road position for the third and final leg.

"It's good. We slowed at the end just to be third on the road tomorrow," Ogier confirmed. "We had two small problems today. My plan now is to fight with Petter."

Further down the Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen are still fourth and fifth respectively for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT. Latvala managed to cut the gap to third and was happier with the changes made to his Focus RS WRC for the repeat loop. However he is still around 40 seconds adrift.

Henning Solberg completes the top six and having stalled his car a couple of times, now trails Hirvonen by 25 seconds. The gap between the two had been less than half of that prior to SS14.

Of the rest Federico Villagra holds a lonely seventh, more than 6.5 minutes off Henning and a similar amount up on Martin Prokop, who is eighth and who also heads the SWRC class. Xavier Pons is ninth and has cut the gap to class rival Prokop - down from 20.7 seconds to just 4.8 seconds.

Armindo Araujo rounds out the top ten and is on course not only for the final 'senior' WRC point, but also the PWRC victory.

Overall standings after Day 2 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 03hous 08mins 49.6secs M
2. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 55.5secs A8
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 58.2secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +01mins 43.9secs M
5. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +01mins 59.9secs M
6. Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +02mins 25.2secs M
7. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +09mins 11.8secs M
8. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +16mins 28.0secs S
9. Xavier Pons Ford Fiesta S2000 +16mins 32.8secs S
10. Armindo Araujo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +18mins 04.7secs P

SWRC Standings after Day 2 (Top 3):

1. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 03hours 25mins 17.6secs S
2. Xavier Pons Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 04.8secs S
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah Skoda Fabia S2000 +02mins 11.6secs S

PWRC Standings after Day 2 (Top 3):

1. Armindo Araujo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 03hours 26mins 54.3secs P
2. Toshi Arai Subaru Impreza Sti N15 +03mins 39.8secs P
3. Miguel Angel Baldoni Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +07mins 54.3secs P

Notable retirements:

SS7. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC Rolled M

SS10. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC Suspension M#
SS10. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC Went off M#
SS10. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Focus WRC Suspension A8#

# denotes may re-join on Sunday under SupeRally.


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