Although there are no British drivers in the premier class of Wales Rally GB this weekend, home fans were given reason to cheer following the second day of the event after Elfyn Evans and Mark Higgins cemented their position in the top two spots of the WRC2 category.

Having taken the class lead following SS2 on Thursday night, Welshman Evans was able to extend his advantage with a strong run through the Friday stages in his Qatar-liveried to establish a lead approaching 30 seconds and putting him eighth overall.

"I'm really happy," he told Crash.net. "It's been a very difficult day and the conditions on the stages have been challenging, but we managed to increase our advantage over second place.

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"It was all about getting a comfortable pace but tomorrow will be a challenge as the lack of a mid-day service means we can't afford to make any mistakes. If we bend or break something, then it'll be game over.

"My local knowledge will probably help on Saturday's stages and hopefully we can maintain our position."

Evans' closest rival heading into Saturday will be the returning Mark Higgins, who produced a series of solid stages at the wheel of his Fiesta to also sit inside the top ten overall despite losing time on SS7 with a puncture.

"I didn't drive well this morning and if I'm being honest, last night was average, but I've changed my driving style for the new car which seemed to work this afternoon," he said. "Unfortunately it didn't show properly as I got a puncture on the first stage and with only one spare and a long road section back, I had to be careful.

"I know there is more to come and I know I can do better as I get used to the car, but it is all about getting the balance right between going flat out and keeping it on the road. Elfyn only has to have a spin and we'll be there so we have to keep the pressure on. We're in his back yard tomorrow so will be up against it, but we have to try and attack."

While two Brits head into the Saturday stages leading the way however, there was disappointment for Irishman Rob Barrable, who saw his challenge for a place on the WRC2 podium come to an early end.

Having started Friday's stages running in fifth place, he lost time on SS6 and was then forced to retire before the second run through Hafren with a burst oil pipe.

The Tunnock's World Rally Team driver is however set to restart under Rally 2 on Saturday, albeit now more than 17 minutes off the class lead.

"It was a disappointing end to the day and not one we expected," he said. "To retire from any event is tough but we hoped for a change in luck here, and we'll have to see what we can now do tomorrow under Rally 2

"We tried to carry out repairs in the remote service but we only managed about 15km on the road section and had to pull over. This is probably the hardest retirement we've had to deal with this season."