Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb increased his advantage on Rally Bulgaria this afternoon, while Petter Solberg won all three stages to close up on Dani Sordo in second.
Loeb began the afternoon loop 30 seconds up on his team-mate, and despite running on the soft Pirelli tyres – as Citroen expected rain - the Frenchman was still second in all three stages, something that ensured he remains top ahead of the final day on Sunday.
Indeed Seb will start tomorrow with a 40.5 second cushion and with only four stages to go, things are looking very good for him and the Citroen Total WRT.
"We knew it [the choice of soft rubber] wasn't the best one but our lead enabled us to opt for security given the risk of the storm," said Loeb. "Overall, we didn't lose too much time.
"I adjusted my driving style as when soft tyres overheat, they make the car's handling less precise. You just have to find the right rhythm by anticipating a little bit more. We'll have to finish the job tomorrow to bag the win."
While Loeb consolidated his position though, Sordo was unable to stop Solberg from closing right up, reducing the gap from 26.8 seconds after the first loop this morning, to just 4.7 seconds post-SS10.
Sordo was 'only' fifth in SS8, third in SS9 and fourth in SS10, having opted to run with two spare tyres. That left him struggling for rear grip and with Solberg winning every single test in his privately entered C4, the fight is well and truly on for the runners-up spot.
"This is so great, I'm so happy with the afternoon stages," said Solberg. "We did some minor changes with the set up during the mid-day service, and that made a big difference for me. And with the help of our small weather and safety crew, we made the correct tyre choice."
"My C4 was handling well but the added weight of the second spare wheel reduced its overall efficiency," Sordo explained. "We made this choice as there was a strong possibility that a storm would soak the last stage. We've managed to hold on to second place, but tomorrow we'll have to push hard to finish the rally in front of Petter."