“Of course tomorrow is another day. If Jari-Matti takes the full 25 points – and the additional point from this afternoon [for third place in the Power Stage] – it will really reduce our advantage over him [in the championship]. We need to be clever tomorrow and find a good balance between taking time out of him [Latvala] and Dani and, ultimately, staying on the road.”
“Today was going pretty well for us until the sixth stage, then we got a puncture in our front left tyre in the 15th kilometre. Although we still made it to the end of the stage, it cost us more than 50 seconds,” Ogier added. “And even though starting further back is an advantage tomorrow on gravel, it certainly wasn't a strategic move! Anyway, it will be difficult to make it right to the front tomorrow – but I never give up. We'll definitely go on the attack 100 per cent tomorrow.”
Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen
is next up, having got ahead of Evgeny Novikov
– albeit by only 0.3 seconds – in the final test of the day.
“Maybe I lost a few seconds by being too cautious on Colldejou [SS6/8], but overall it has been a positive day,” said Hirvonen. “I will have a very good starting position tomorrow. I've got nothing to lose, so I'm going to go for it without holding back, to try and finish on the podium. The top six drivers all have a real chance.”
“We were able to push a little bit more this afternoon and again I was happy with the times,” Novikov continued. “I think we can be pleased with what we have done on the asphalt stages and tomorrow we will just continue the way we have been going and see what happens.”
Of the rest Mads Ostberg
is a lonely seventh, more than 1.5 minutes off his Qatar M-Sport team-mate ahead, and over 30 seconds up on Martin Prokop in eighth.
“Today has been a lot better than yesterday. OK, we started a bit off the pace this morning but we altered the set-up of the car and immediately I found more confidence. From the third stage of the day [SS6], it has been a really good day for us,” said Ostberg.
“That was where we wanted to start the rally, but unfortunately it was not to be. That is just the way it is sometimes, but I think we ended the day well and I am really excited about tomorrow. There'll be no real tactic. Result wise, there is nothing much we can do, but we will certainly push because we want to prove that we can be competitive and set some good stage times.”
Hayden Paddon and former F1 winner, Robert Kubica complete the top ten, the latter now more than 4 minutes up on his closest class rival in the battle for the WRC2 victory, after Elfyn Evans stopped in SS9 after hitting a concrete bollard.
Evans had been running second in class and eleventh overall. He wasn't the only major casualty on day two either, as Andreas Mikkelsen and Nasser Al-Attiyah also went out. Mikkelsen hit a rock and damaged his suspension in the very first test this morning, while Al-Attiyah crashed in SS8.