Citroen privateer Petter Solberg remains at the top of the Rally Japan leaderboard following the repeat loop this afternoon.

Solberg, who seized the lead this morning and who went into the mid-day service 10.3 seconds up on Sebastien Ogier, was fourth in the first test this afternoon, the repeat-run through the 26.92 km Iwanke stage, 2.5 seconds off Jari-Matti Latvala.

The Norwegian then posted the second best time in SS7 and was third in SS8 to maintain his hold on P1. He now heads into the Sapporo super specials, which will conclude the leg, 8.5 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen, a brilliant day thus far for 'Hollywood', especially as he is struggling with a fever and is not 100 per cent.

Hirvonen put in a charge on the second loop to overhaul Sebastien Ogier and Dani Sordo and move up into second. The Finn was second quickest in SS6 and then set the pace in SS7 and SS8 to pull out a 12.2 second advantage over Ogier.

Hirvonen's team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala was also on the move, jumping up to fourth in SS6, when he was quickest and then going third fastest in SS7 and sixth in SS8. He now lies just 1.3 seconds off Ogier and the 'bronze medal'.

Dani Sordo meanwhile has slipped to fifth, 11.7 seconds off Latvala, while Sebastien Loeb, who continues to struggle running first on the road, remains sixth, 21 seconds further back and almost a minute off Petter Solberg.

Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Matt Wilson complete the top eight, followed by Munchi's man, Federico Villagra and F1 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen is now almost 4 minutes off the lead and 18.9 seconds off P9. He was tenth in SS3 and SS4 this morning, before going ninth quickest in SS5, SS6 and SS7 and then completing the day's final 'proper' test on a relative high, by setting the seventh best time.

In the support categories there was no change, Jari Ketomaa continues to lead the SWRC, now 57.2 seconds up on Martin Prokop, while Patrik Flodin heads the PWRC, two minutes up on Hayden Paddon. Ketomaa is eleventh overall followed by Prokop, Flodin, Bernardo Sousa and Paddon.

Leg one now ends, as it started on Thursday, with two more runs through the 1.57 km Sapporo Super Special stage.

Rally Japan: Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):

1. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC 1hour 10mins 42.4secs A8
2. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 08.5secs M
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 20.7secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 22.0secs M
5. Dani Sordo Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 33.7secs M
6. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 54.7secs M
7. Henning Solberg Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC +01mins 19.5secs M
8. Matthew Wilson Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC +03mins 15.6secs M
9. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +03mins 43.4secs M
10. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +04mins 02.3secs M

SWRC Standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 1hour 16mins 35.8secs S
2. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 00mins 57.2secs S
3. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 02mins 32.1secs S

PWRC Standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza STi 1hour 18mins 47.4secs P
2. Hayden Paddon Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +01mins 59.3secs P
3. Paulo Nobre Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +05mins 54.7secs P

Notable retirements:

SS3. Khalid Al-Qassmi BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC Rolled M
SS4. Toshi Arai Subaru Impreza WRC STi Accident P

all times unofficial