Sebastien Loeb has continued his domination of Rallye de France – Tour de Corse after winning all four stages of leg two to extend his overall lead.
Loeb has now won all eight stages on the event to lead Toni Gardemeister by 1min 30.5secs going into the final leg after problems early on day two for Francois Duval. Duval had started the day running in a strong second place behind Loeb until he suffered brake problems on the opening stage, which meant he was then forced to run through the second stage of the day without any front left brakes and dropped down to fifth place although he would work his was back to fourth after a strong run through the afternoon stages.
Duval's problems saw Petter Solberg
move into a podium position and the Norwegian looks set to be involved in a interesting battle with the Citroen
man over the four stages which make up the final day of competition. Solberg leads by 25secs going into the final day, but with Duval driving the car which is proving to the class of the field on the twisty Corsican stage, the former champion is by no means secure in a podim place.
Stephane Sarrazin continued his strong home performance to sit fifth, with Roman Kresta up to sixth, benefiting from the retirement of the privateer Focus of Dani Sola who went off the road on SS6. Kresta is very much on his own going into the final leg but behind him Alex Bengue and Xavier Pons look set for tight battle over seventh place. Gigi Galli and Nicolas Bernardi round out the top ten – Bernardi putting in a much improved disply at the wheel of the 307 WRC.
Leg two saw Armin Schwarz forced to retire when his Fabia WRC developed handling problems that the team felt made it unsafe to continue, while Gilles Panizzi's miserable weekend continued when he suffered engine problems on the final stage of the day which forced him out of the leg.
Having been in a dominant position at the end of leg one, Citroen
his trouble on the second day for the JWRC competitors as Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo both hit problems. Meeke had started the day in second place but lost 18 minutes on the opening stage and ends the leg way down in ninth place while Sordo lost a comfortable lead when he was forced to retire with electrical problems on the final stage of the leg. It could prove to be crucial as victory on the event would have moved Sordo ten points clear in the battle for the JWRC title with just one round left to run.