Citroen privateer Petter Solberg has moved back into the lead of the Rally Japan following the final 'proper' stage today.

Solberg, who slipped down to third after picking up a 10 second penalty for a jump start before SS13, attacked from the off this afternoon and was quickest in SS14, the 17.68 km Nikara test. He was then fifth in SS15, before taking another stage win in SS16, which helped put him back at the head of the pack. The Norwegian will now go into the Sapparo super specials with a 4.3 second cushion over his closest rival.

Meanwhile, Jari-Matti Latvala has dropped from P1 to fourth after a driveshaft problem cost him more than 15 seconds. He is now 12.7 seconds off the lead and likely to concede more time as he has two more stages to go before service.

Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Ogier, like Solberg, benefitted from Latvala's bad luck and now hold second and third, split by just 1.4 seconds.

Away from the battle at the front, Dani Sordo is fifth, 15 seconds back, followed by Sebastien Loeb, who lost a lot of time on day one and has been unable to bring himself back into contention. Loeb is 23.2 seconds off P5 and almost 40 seconds off the leader.

Further down the order Henning Solberg is seventh for the Stobart Ford team, ahead F1 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen and Munchi's man, Federico Villagra.

SWRC leader, Jari Ketomaa rounds out the top ten, with his closest class rival, Martin Prokop in eleventh - 56.9 seconds adrift - and Patrik Flodin, who is on course for the PWRC win, in twelfth.

Leg two now ends in the same way day one concluded, with two more runs through the 1.57 km Sapporo Super Special stage.

Rally Japan: Overall standings after Stage 16 (Top 10):

1. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC 2hours 25mins 56.4secs A8
2. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 04.3secs M
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 05.7secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 12.7secs M
5. Dani Sordo Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 15.0secs M
6. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 38.2secs M
7. Henning Solberg Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC +02mins 04.9secs M
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +06mins 59.4secs M
9. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +07mins 38.8secs M
10. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 +11mins 21.1secs S

SWRC Standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):

1. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 2hours 37mins 17.5secs S
2. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 56.9secs S
3. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 +32mins 19.9secs S

PWRC Standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):

1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza STi 2hours 41mins 53.4secs P
2. Hayden Paddon Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +03mins 24.0secs P
3. Michel Jourdain Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +11mins 53.0secs 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

SS11. Matthew Wilson Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC Went off M

all times unofficial


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