Citroen team leader, Sebastien Loeb
unstoppable following leg two in Sardinia today [Saturday], the Frenchman having practically doubled his advantage since last night.
Although his lead remained around the 30-second mark for most of the day, in the final test Loeb put in an astonishing time, to go 20 seconds quicker than anyone else and finish the day just under a minute ahead of Petter Solberg, who is 'best of the rest' in second.
Loeb won three of the five tests during the leg, to add to his four notched up on Friday and assuming he stays on the road and doesn't have any mechanical dramas, then the win must surely be his...
"By the time it was my turn to tackle the stages they had obviously been swept clear," explained the reigning champion. "But they were also badly cut up with a lot of rocks thrown up by the first cars through. You really had to stay concentrated all the time. I pushed quite hard while trying to drive as cleanly as possible. This is the sort of event where you can end up losing time if you try too hard and you risk hitting trouble."
Petter Solberg meanwhile is equally safe in second, a good two minutes up on Harri Rovanpera, who currently holds third.
Furthermore while the Norwegian managed to stay in touch with Loeb throughout most of the second leg, even nibbling into his lead following his stage win in SS8, that last test must surely have been the final nail in the coffin, in terms of him harbouring any hopes of winning.
"When you look at how fast Sebastien is going, we have to be pleased with where we are. That's just how it is sometimes. I pushed as hard as I could, but clearly we have some work still to do," admitted Solberg.
Rovanpera though is less secure in third, and he will have to battle hard tomorrow to hold off the Peugeot's of Marcus Gronholm and Markko Martin.
"Marcus and Markko are pushing hard but we see what happens tomorrow; it's another long day," noted Mitsubishi's team leader. "Today has been great and the car is better; the small changes we made from the test seem to be helping us in rougher conditions."
Gronholm has been pushing hard ever since his roll in SS3 and the Finn finally got ahead of his team-mate in the last test of the day.