Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb
continues to lead the Rally d'Italia Sardegna at the end of day two - despite having had to play the 'road sweeper'.
Loeb began the day with a 35.7 second lead and while he was unable to match the BP Ford
Abu Dhabi WRT duo of Jari-Matti Latvala
and Mikko Hirvonen
on the first loop and was 'only' fourth fastest in SS7 and SS9 and third best in SS8, he still managed to increase his overnight lead.
Indeed the Frenchman returned to the mid-day halt at Olbia with his advantage up to 42 seconds. In the afternoon he was again unable to match the Fords, but with two third quickest times and a fourth he minimised the damage of running first on the road and will now take a 29.4 second cushion into the final leg.
"As overnight leaders, we knew we would have more 'road-sweeping' to do," he reflected. "In this morning's conditions, even with good notes, a precise driving style and a perfectly handling car, there was little we could do.
"There wasn't any grip, and our speed was dictated by the terrain. The power-slides were fun, but not ideal against the stopwatch.
"For the second run, I reckoned we would see a repeat of the morning's scenario. I did what I could again and in the end we managed to keep our leading margin at just below the half-minute mark. Tomorrow now promises to be a very interesting day!"
Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile ended the day in P2 and while he finished up with exactly the same time as his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, he lies in front under the tie-break rule - having set a faster time than his fellow countryman in SS1.
Jari enjoyed a perfect day in his Focus, and making the most of his position on the road hauled himself up from seventh, setting the pace in all six stages.
"I was on the limit all day and when I woke up I could not have imagined taking a minute back from Loeb," said Latvala. "Maximum attack, my road position and a perfect car enabled me to do that.