Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb has increased his advantage on Rallye Deutschland this afternoon.

Loeb dominated this morning, winning all three tests, to build a 13.1 second lead. While he couldn't maintain that run this afternoon, he inched further ahead with the second best time in SS4, before leading the way in Moselland 2 and adding 5.1 seconds to his cushion. He was then second again in SS6, although only 0.3 seconds off Jari-Matti Latvala. He now heads back to service in Trier 20.4 seconds up on his closest rival.

"The road was pretty dry and dusty on the second runs, but everything went well. Overall, it's been a perfect day for us," Loeb said. "Although I controlled the race from the front today and I already have a significant lead over my closest challengers, I'm certainly not out of the woods yet, especially with two runs on Panzerplatte scheduled tomorrow."

Petter Solberg meanwhile continues to head the chasing pack for Ford, but while he was second best in SS5, he could manage only the fourth best times in SS4 and SS6.

"My experience of driving the Fiesta RS WRC on asphalt is relatively small, so I'm still getting used to the car on this surface," Solberg said. "Considering that, I'm very happy with my performance. I could have pushed harder, but it was important to establish a good feeling and not take too many risks. You have to be smart here. I lost a few seconds but this morning but this afternoon was perfect and the car was fantastic. Tomorrow is a long day with some difficult stages so it will be important not to do anything crazy."

Latvala is third, but despite winning SS4 and SS6, a poor time in SS5 cost the Finn dear and he was 12.7 seconds off the pace.

"When I was fastest in stage four, I had two lucky escapes when I was off the road and almost 'lost' the car," Latvala explained. "Afterwards Miikka [Anttila - my co-driver] and I agreed it was time to calm down otherwise we wouldn't finish the rally. I tried to find a comfortable feeling, but eased off too much [in SS5], braked too early and didn't realise how much time I was losing. I found a good compromise on the last stage and was fastest again. Tomorrow is the key day of this event and I'm looking forward to the long stages at the Baumholder military land. I enjoy those roads."

Thierry Neuville continues to run well in his Citroen Junior WRT-run DS3 WRC car and he was even third quickest in Mittelmosel 2. He ends the day fourth.

"Although there are some points that could be perfected, I'm really pleased with how things went today," said the Belgian. "Seb Loeb was quicker than everyone today, but we were very close to the times of the other competitors all day. But it all starts again tomorrow. Tyre management on the Baumholder stages seems to be one of the keys to success here. I still want that podium spot, so I'll have to keep pushing."

Behind Prodrive WRC Team driver Dani Sordo has moved up to fifth and ahead of the struggling Mikko Hirvonen. The Spaniard posted two third best times in SS5 and SS6 and reported that he was happier with his MINI John Cooper Works WRC car on the second loop.

"This morning I think we maybe shouldn't have taken the choice with two spare tyres. I also didn't have such a good feel for the car. We made some changes to the set-up at lunchtime and it was much better this afternoon," Sordo confirmed. "I had a much better feeling and I was able to really push. Tomorrow I will make a big push, there is a real opportunity to make up some time on Panzerplatte and we need to aim to move up towards a podium place."

M-Sport Ford WRT man Ott Tanak is next up, 29 seconds off P6, while Mads Ostberg and Chris Atkinson lie eighth and ninth, the latter making his debut appearance with the WRC MINI Team Portugal squad.

VW ace Sebastien Ogier completes the top ten in his Skoda Fabia S2000, with Peter van Merksteijn Jr and Nasser Al-Attiyah eleventh and twelfth.

In the support categories, Benito Guerra Jr moved to the fore in the PWRC in the final test of the day, while in the WRC Academy, Elfyn Evans now leads.

As for retirements, Martin Prokop was the most notable victim today, after he had to stop in SS3 when his Czech Ford National Team-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC car caught fire. Evgeny Novikov also went out, but in SS1 when he lost a wheel. The Russian is expected to rejoin under the Rally 2 rules.

Rallye Deutschland now continues on Saturday and the longest leg of the rally, takes in a mix of stages in Mosel, Saarland and Baumholder. Day two includes 164.90 competitive kilometres in total, with SS7, Stein & Wein 1, due to start at 07.58 hours local time [06.58 hours UK time].

Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 6 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 1hour 22mins 18.0secs M
2. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 20.4secs M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 29.4secs M
4. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 34.5secs M
5. Dani Sordo Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Coopers Works WRC +00m 46.7secs
6. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 48.9secs M
7. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 17.9secs M
8. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 28.7secs M
9. Chris Atkinson WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +02mins 34.8secs
10. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +03mins 43.3secs

Others

11. Peter van Merksteijn Jr van Merksteijn Motorsport Citroen DS3 WRC +04mins 18.1secs
12. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +4mins 40.1secs M
13. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +04mins 44.4secs

PWRC standings after Stage 6 - Top 3:

1. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 1hour 31mins 18.3secs P
2. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +00mins 05.8secs P
3. Marcos Ligato Subaru Impreza STi +02mins 27.5secs P

WRC Academy standings after Stage 6 - Top 3:

1. Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta R2 1hour 33mins 34.2secs A
2. Jose Suarez Ford Fiesta R2 +00mins 09.9secs A
3. Brendan Reeves Ford Fiesta R2 +00mins 55.1secs A

Notable retirements:

SS1. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Went off M
SS2. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Stopped in stage
SS3. Martin Prokop Czech Ford National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC Car caught fire

all times unofficial