Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has finished day two of Rallye Deutschland with a comfortable lead and he is now well placed to take the victory.

Loeb once again successfully made it through the daunting Panzerplatte test, but a number of his rivals weren't so fortunate, with Ott Tanak, Dani Sordo and Peter van Merksteijn Jr all sidelined.

Tanak had been running in a very promising fourth in his M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC, but an impact with a hickelstein, ended his run.

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Sordo also had to stop after contact with a hickelstein his Prodrive MINI John Cooper Works WRC, while van Merksteijn Jr rolled his Citroen DS3 WRC and blocked the road, delaying a number of other drivers.

"We've had another great day!" Loeb said back in service in Trier. "On Baumholder, I was the fastest on both runs, but I didn't really push. It's not worth it: if you push too hard at the start, the tyres get worn very quickly and you have to ease off at the end. It's better to adopt an even pace which means you can stay clear of the worst of the trouble. At the same time, the guys who came after us made mistakes and so the gap widened. We just have to finish the job tomorrow, so everything's looking good."

Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile is on course for the second for Ford, albeit 1 minute 42.9 seconds adrift. The Finn had hoped to beat Loeb in SS12, but was again slower, 0.7 seconds back: "I liked both Panzerplatte stages. I enjoyed the fight for fastest time but I'm disappointed not to have been quickest on at least one of them. I missed out by 0.8sec in the first pass and 0.7sec in the second pass after more than 46km! Having dropped to fifth this morning, I'm happy to be in second. The car was fast enough to allow me to fight at the front, but I lacked consistency at times," Latvala commented.

Mikko Hirvonen is on course for the final spot on the podium and he was happier with his form on the repeat loop: "Most of all, I'm pleased to have improved my driving on tarmac. I started to find the rhythm. I was a bit lucky, but you also need to be consistent if you want to get a good result. My aim will be to hold onto third position tomorrow."

Behind, Tanak's error bumps Mads Ostberg up to fourth, while Chris Atkinson also benefits from the chaos to jump up to fifth. Atkinson was the last of the front runners to complete SS12 at speed, prior to van Merksteijn Jr's off.

A number of drivers were thus given notional times, with Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen and Nasser Al-Attiyah concluding the day in positions 6 through to 8, ahead of Mathieu Arzeno and Sepp Wiegand.

In the support categories, Michal Kosciuszko continues to lead the PWRC, while Elfyn Evans took the WRC Academy win.

"I am very happy with how today has gone. We had a difficult start yesterday - hard to find the right rhythm and set-up with the car. Shakedown was cancelled for us so it took a while to get that [the rhythm] going. It was a lot more slippery than we had expected and we were pretty lucky with a couple of moments!" Evans reflected.

"We had some bad weather on slicks this morning, but we got our heads together and did a solid job there and were able to build on our advantage from there on. We just concentrated on having a clean rally since then and we are happy to be here with the win now. We tried to maintain a reasonable pace without taking any risks and silly cuts - it has just been a case of management and doing enough to keep the concentration. It is definitely a big boost for the championship."

As for retirements, in addition to those already mentioned, Panzerplatte also took two scalps this morning too, with Petter Solberg hitting a rock and Thierry Neuville going off the road. Solberg had been second and Neuville had been fourth.

Rallye Deutschland now concludes on Sunday and it comprises just three tests and a total competitive distance of 65.89 kilometres. SS13, Dhrontal 1, is due to start at 09.13 hours local time [08.13 hours UK time].

Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 12 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 2hours 58mins 51.8secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 42.9secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +02mins 12.7secs M
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 07.8secs M
5. Chris Atkinson WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +06mins 59.0secs
6. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +08mins 10.6secs
7. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +10mins 20.4secs
8. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +10mins 52.0secs M
9. Mathieu Arzeno Peugeot 207 S2000 +13mins 03.5secs
10. Sepp Wiegand VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +13mins 31.3secs

PWRC standings after Stage 12 - Top 3:

1. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 3hours 20mins 27.2secs P
2. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +02mins 00.3secs P
3. Marcos Ligato Subaru Impreza STi +08mins 21.3secs P

WRC Academy standings after Stage 12 - Top 3#:

1. Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta R2 3hours 24mins 19.6secs A
2. Jose Suarez Ford Fiesta R2 +01mins 09.9secs A
3. John MacCrone Ford Fiesta R2 +05mins 51.6secs A

# WRC Academy event ended after SS12

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

SS9. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Hit a rock M
SS9. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC Went off the road M
SS9. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Mechanical
SS12. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Hit a hickelstein M
SS12. Peter van Merksteijn Jr van Merksteijn Motorsport Citroen DS3 WRC Rolled
SS12. Dani Sordo Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Coopers Works WRC Stopped in stage

* denotes re-started under Rally 2

all times unofficial