Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb remains on course to win Rallye Deutschland for a record eighth time following SS15 and SS16.

Loeb began the final leg with a 35.7 second cushion and despite saying he was taking it 'steady' he was second quickest in Dhrontal 1 and quickest in Moselwein 1 to increase his lead to 48 seconds.

"I'm taking no risks this morning. I am very satisfied, especially concerning the Championship," Loeb said.

Dani Sordo meanwhile has also eased off and is just pacing himself to the finish to ensure he takes the runners-up spot and gives the Citroen Total WRT a 1-2: "Everything okay," said the Spaniard. "It would be nice for us to make it to the finish like this."

In the battle for third, Citroen Junior Team man Sebastien Ogier has pulled further away from Jari-Matti Latvala, extending the gap to almost 20 seconds.

"It is going well this morning," Ogier noted. "I have pushed - we want to defend our position."

"This morning Ogier is just too fast for me," Latvala conceded. "I have no chance, unless he makes a mistake."

Further down the order, Petter Solberg completes the top five, while Matthew Wilson has managed to get the better of F1 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen and now holds sixth, 6.9 seconds ahead.

"It was already going well for me on the first stage. I am very satisfied. I have a good fight with Kimi and now I am ahead," Wilson said.

"On the first stage I overshot a junction and lost time," Raikkonen revealed.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT third driver, Khalid Al-Qassmi is next up with Mark van Eldik ninth in his Subaru Impreza WRC and Patrik Sandell tenth.

Sandell incidentally now leads the SWRC after overnight class leader P-G Andersson lost a wheel in the first test this morning following a bad jump. The Swede is now more than 3 minutes further back.

"My strategy is to push hard and it worked out well," Sandell stated.

PG added: "The first stage was disappointing. At the moment I am quite unhappy."

In the other support categories, Armindo Araujo still leads the PWRC and Hans Weijs Jr heads up the JWRC.

As for retirements, Ken Block retired on the road section to SS15 with mechanical problems, while Mikko Hirvonen re-joined under the SupeRally but was unable to hold onto eighth and slipped down to 12th due to gearbox issues. He retired after SS16.

The action now continues with a repeat run through Dhrontal and Moselwein, before the short 4.37 km Trier super special stage (SS19) concludes proceedings. SS17 is due to start at 10.36 hours local time.

Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 16 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 3hours 30mins 58.0secs M
2. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 48.0secs M
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +02mins 10.8secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +02mins 30.1secs M
5. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +05mins 14.7secs A8
6. Matthew Wilson Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC +08mins 15.8secs M
7. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +08mins 22.7secs M
8. Khalid Al-Qassimi BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +15mins 57.0secs A8
9. Mark van Eldik Subaru Impreza S14 WRC +16mins 01.3secs A8
10. Patrik Sandell Skoda Fabia S2000 +16mins 08.4secs S

SWRC Standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):

1. Patrik Sandell Skoda Fabia S2000 3hours 47mins 06.4secs S
2. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 05.0secs S
3. Eyvind Brynildsen Skoda Fabia S2000 +02mins 44.1secs S

PWRC Standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):

1. Armindo Araujo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 3hours 54mins 20.0secs P
2. Hayden Paddon Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +00mins 17.9secs P
3. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza STi +01mins 46.5secs P

JWRC Standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):

1. Hans Weijs Jr Citroen C2 S1600 3hours 57mins 53.6secs J
2. Aaron Burkart Suzuki Swift S1600 +04mins 54.8secs J
3. Karl Kruuda Suzuki Swift S1600 +10mins 25.7secs J

Notable retirements:

SS2. Henning Solberg Stobart M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 Mechanical*

SS13. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC Mechanical M*
SS14. Francois Duval Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC Crashed M
SS14. Henning Solberg Stobart M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 Engine*

SS15. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Focus RS WRC Mechanical A8
SS16. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC Gearbox M

* denotes re-started under SupeRally.

all times unofficial