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
2. Petter Solberg
PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 55.5secs
3. Sebastien Ogier
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 58.2secs
4. Jari-Matti Latvala
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +01mins 43.9secs
5. Mikko Hirvonen
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +01mins 59.9secs
6. Henning Solberg
Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +02mins 25.2secs
7. Federico Villagra
Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +09mins 11.8secs
8. Martin Prokop
Ford Fiesta S2000 +16mins 28.0secs
9. Xavier Pons
Ford Fiesta S2000 +16mins 32.8secs
10. Armindo Araujo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +18mins 04.7secs
SWRC Standings after Day 2 (Top 3):
1. Martin Prokop
Ford Fiesta S2000 03hours 25mins 17.6secs
2. Xavier Pons
Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 04.8secs
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah
Skoda Fabia S2000 +02mins 11.6secs
PWRC Standings after Day 2 (Top 3):
1. Armindo Araujo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 03hours 26mins 54.3secs
2. Toshi Arai
Subaru Impreza Sti N15 +03mins 39.8secs
3. Miguel Angel Baldoni
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +07mins 54.3secs
SS7. Kimi Raikkonen
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC Rolled
SS10. Dani Sordo
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC Suspension
SS10. Matthew Wilson
Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC Went off
SS10. Ken Block
Monster WRT Ford Focus WRC Suspension
# denotes may
re-join on Sunday under SupeRally.