Sebastien Loeb continues to lead the ADAC Rallye Deutschland following the morning loop and while team-mate Sebastien Ogier has closed up somewhat, the rest of the pack is now more than 2 minutes back.
Loeb, who took P1 in SS3 yesterday and who began the day with a 7.4 second advantage, eventually finished the loop with his lead reduced to 4.8 seconds – an overshot in SS10 costing him a couple of seconds. The seven-time WRC champion though was not overly concerned.
“We went straight in a junction,” Loeb told the official WRC site. “I think it would have been okay to brake but I didn't try, instead of a hairpin left, I went right. I lost a bit of time but there was no problem.”
Ogier meanwhile was happy with his morning and pleased to have posted two quickest times. However with Citroen now so far ahead, it appears the French manufacturer has instructed its drivers' to hold position: “I have nothing to say about that,” he told reporters when asked about the prospect of team orders. “I just try to improve my speed here. We are going in the right direction and that is the most important thing.”
"We were told to stay on the road and not to take any risks," Loeb added in service D. "After all, there are two Citroens in the first two places. Putting this 1-2 at risk because of a stupid mistake would be bad.”
Dani Sordo lies third in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC car, the Spaniard having been promoted to P3 in SS10, when Mikko Hirvonen picked up a puncture 9 kilometres from the end. The Finn lost more than a minute as a result and is now 32.9 seconds off third in his Fiesta RS WRC.
"I have no idea how the puncture happened," said Hirvonen. "There were some holes in the asphalt and sharp edges on the roadside so maybe I caught one of those. I felt the vibrations about 13km from the finish and with about 9km to go the tyre deflated completely. I made the dampers stiffer during the loop and will make the set-up stiffer still in service. The car didn't feel as good, but the times were better so I have to get used to the feeling."
Further back Kris Meeke completes the top five in the second works MINI John Cooper Works WRC car, 2.4 seconds off Hirvonen, while Petter Solberg is sixth, a front right puncture in SS9 costing him a position on the leader-board.
Of the rest F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is seventh and at the head of a 'third division' of runners, almost 2 minutes off P6, and 3.4 seconds up on Dennis Kuipers, who in turn is 3.6 seconds ahead of Henning Solberg. Jari-Matti Latvala rounds out the top ten having climbed back up the order after his catalogue of woes on day 1. The Finn set another quickest stage time this morning, even though he is struggling with an upset stomach.