Triple World champion, Sebastien Loeb
ended day two of the Rallye Deutschland on Saturday well on course to win the event for the sixth year in succession.
Loeb took the lead back from his ex-team-mate, Francois Duval on the very first test this morning - and after the Belgian lost around 20 seconds with two spins, Seb found himself with a 15.2 second advantage.
The Frenchman then proceeded to increase the margin further in SS8 and went into the first remote service zone having pulled out a 24.9 second cushion. Following that Seb continued to set the standard and by the time the crews returned to the mid-day service he was 26.7 seconds up on his nearest challenger.
During the repeat runs in the afternoon, the Citroen
man continued to inch further and further away and he eventually ended the day 37.8 seconds up on Marcus Gronholm.
Gronholm himself meanwhile also made progress during the second day moving up from third overnight to second.
Although the Finn dropped behind his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen
in SS7, after only setting the fifth quickest time, both managed to get the jump on Duval in SS8.
Marcus then went up to P2 in SS9, taking his first - and so far only - stage win of the event and with second in SS10, moved away from the battle for third. He eventually finished the day 12.6 seconds up on Duval.
Francois had a poor start this morning in his Kronos-run Citroen
Xsara WRC, but recovered his composure as the day went on and despite severe pressure from Hirvonen, ended the day on course for third, 5.1 seconds up on the Finn.
The battle for the final place on the rostrum could well be the highlight of the day tomorrow - especially as Francois hasn't given up on trying too haul-in Gronholm either.
Further down the order, Jan Kopecky is on course for fifth in his privately entered Skoda Fabia WRC - albeit around 2 minutes off the Duval-Hirvonen duel. Jan reported a few engine problems this morning but still set some good times, including a fourth best effort in SS7 and in the end finished narrowly ahead of Toni Gardemeister.