Citroen's Sebastien Loeb snatched the lead this afternoon on the Jordan Rally, the third round in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

Loeb began the second day more 30 seconds behind Jari-Matti Latvala, but he closed the gap to 4.7 seconds going into the mid-day halt, thanks to his better position on the road. The Frenchman then continued to push on the repeat loop, posting his third fastest time of the day in SS11, enough to put him in the joint lead with his Ford rival, before he pulled away in SS12.

Loeb eventually concluded the leg with a 27.7 second cushion over Latvala, while Sebastien Ogier moved up into second in the final stage, and is 24.6 seconds adrift.

"I am quite happy with my performance today but I knew that I needed at least a lead of 30 seconds to take into the last day," Loeb said. "I tried to push really hard and I don't know if I could have done any better than that."

"I have been quite pleased with my performance today," Latvala added. "It was good experience for me to take on the role that nobody wanted today [as road sweeper], but I'm happy to let someone else take over for tomorrow. I thought tactics would come into play from those behind to make me start first tomorrow, but it didn't happen.

"I know my first priority is to ensure I finish but sometimes you need to take risks and I would really like to win. It's possible to catch the guys ahead if everything goes perfectly. I'll keep the pressure on during the morning loop and see how things stand then."

Petter Solberg meanwhile is fourth in his privately entered Citroen C4 WRC, 15.5 seconds off Latvala after struggling again in the long 41.45 kilometre Jordan River test, SS13.

"I don't know what it is with that stage, I just can't get the speed - there's too much oversteer," Petter moaned. "The lack of traction and my rhythm is not correct. I don't know why. I will have to look into what it is."

Dani Sordo rounds out the top five, just 5.6 seconds behind 'Hollywood', while Britain's Matthew Wilson is sixth, albeit over 4 minutes further back.

"I'm happy with the way things have gone today," said Sordo. "I tried to push hard in that last stage."

Further down the order, Federico Villagra and 2007 F1 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen hold seventh and eighth, with Henning Solberg now ninth, having made up some ground after his puncture this morning in SS10.

"I'm pleased with the position at the end of the day," said Henning. "I'm quite happy and driving for the finish now."

Xavier Pons is on course for the final 'senior' WRC point in his Ford Fiesta S2000 - as well as the honours in the SWRC category.

In the PWRC class, Patrik Flodin leads and he has increased his overnight advantage from 9.4 seconds to 23.9.

In terms of retirements, Mikko Hirvonen was the most notable scalp, going out when he went off the road in the opening test, SS8. He will now re-join the fold under the SupeRally.

"I made a silly mistake and I can't believe it," said Hirvonen. "The stage was going well when I took too tight a line over a crest. The car hit a small gravel bank on the inside of a right bend and the impact threw it into the air and across the road. I was lucky not to roll but it landed on the left front wheel and the front left suspension broke. I rarely make a mistake and I'm disappointed. I've put myself in a difficult position from a championship perspective but I'll fight back."

The action now comes to a conclusion on Saturday and in total there are eight stages on the bill, around 106 competitive kilometres. SS14, Yakrut 1 [14.16 km], starts at 08.20 hours local time [06.20 hours UK time].

Overall standings after Stage 13 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 2hours 41mins 06.7secs M
2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 24.6secs M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 27.7secs M
4. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 43.2secs A8
5. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 48.8secs M
6. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +05mins 05.7secs A8
7. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +06mins 51.0secs M
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +08mins 09.0secs M
9. Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +10mins 04.0secs M
10. Xavier Pons Ford Fiesta S2000 +10mins 17.7secs S

SWRC Standings after Stage 13 (Top 3):

1. Xavier Pons Ford Fiesta S2000 2hour 51mins 24.4secs S
2. Michal Kosciuszko Ford Fiesta S2000 +09mins 03.7secs S
3. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 +09mins 53.3secs S

PWRC Standings after Stage 13 (Top 3):

1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza Sti 2hour 52mins 28.2secs P
2. Armindo Araujo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +00mins 23.9secs P
3. Nicholai Georgiou Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +13mins 44.6secs P

Notable retirements:

SS8. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC Off the road M*

* denotes will re-join under the SupeRally.

all times unofficial