Sebastien Ogier has re-taken the lead on Rally Poland on Friday afternoon's repeat loop, finishing SS8 with a 1.9s advantage, while Ott Tanak has slipped to fourth.
Ogier, who briefly led after the short super special on Thursday evening, had been third going into the mid-day regroup, 7.4 seconds off Andreas Mikkelsen in P2 and 16.7 seconds off Tanak. However, being first on the road was less of a hindrance on the second runs, and he was promptly quickest in SS6 and SS7 to surge into the lead.
The Frenchman then had to settle for third in SS8, but that was still sufficient to keep him on top in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
“Overall a good day,” Ogier remarked after Goldap 2, “but the guys behind are coming hard - especially on this stage where my tyres were done, although I'm still happy.”
Meanwhile, Mikkelsen heads the chasing pack in another Polo R WRC, despite an off-road excursion in SS6, that cost him a couple of seconds: “It has been a good day - just one small mistake on my side. It is very close and all possibilities are still open,” said the VW Motorsport II pilot.
Jari-Matti Latvala holds third, 6.2s back and 5.2s up on Tanak in P4: “I am happy,” said Latvala, who was quickest in the final 'proper' test of the leg.
“One of the tyres is not so great shape anymore. The performance was still great though. I have a good feeling for the car and enjoyed this stage.”
“No brakes, no tyres,” Tanak lamented after SS7. “How can we compete?”
Further back, Hayden Paddon leads the way for Hyundai, albeit 22.1s off P4, with former F1 driver Robert Kubica then sixth in his Fiesta RS WRC followed by Thierry Neuville, Kris Meeke, Dani Sordo and Mads Ostberg in positions 7 through to 10. Elfyn Evans lies eleventh, losing time with an off in SS7.
In WRC2, Esapekka Lappi continues to lead – and hold P12 overall – in the 'new' Skoda Fabia R5. Pontus Tidemand is second, 50.3s back, while Karl Kruuda is now third, 1m 46.4s off the lead after struggling with a puncture in Stanczyki 2.
Friday's action now concludes with a run through the short 2.50 km Mikolajki Arena SSS (SS9) – the same test that opened the event on Thursday evening. It is scheduled to run at 19.05 hours local time. Full itinerary for round seven in WRC 2015 available - HERE
2015 Rally Poland: Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1h 15m 54.3s
2. Andreas Mikkelsen
Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 01.9s
3. Jari-Matti Latvala
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0m 08.1s
4. Ott Tanak
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 13.3s
5. Hayden Paddon
Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +0m 35.4s
6. Robert Kubica
Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 38.9s
7. Thierry Neuville
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 40.6s
8. Kris Meeke
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +1m 05.5s
9. Dani Sordo
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +1m 14.6s
10. Mads Ostberg
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +1m 15.1s
11. Elfyn Evans
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 38.5s
12. Esapekka Lappi
Skoda Fabia R5 +2m 23.5s
13. Martin Prokop
Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 31.8s
14. Kevin Abbring
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +2m 36.6s
15. Pontus Tidemand
Skoda Fabia R5 +3m 13.8s
16. Lorenzo Bertelli
Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 04.9s
17. Karl Kruuda
Citroen DS 3 R5 +4m 09.9s
WRC2 standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):
1. Esapekka Lappi
Skoda Fabia R5 1h 18m 17.8s
2. Pontus Tidemand
Skoda Fabia R5 +0m 50.3s
3. Karl Kruuda
Citroen DS 3 R5 +1m 46.4s
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial