WRC »

Loeb pulls out slim lead on day two.

Loix continued to lead the Hyundai battle, though the Belgian and his German team-mate Schwarz are only separated by a handful of seconds. They remain on the fringes of the top ten at the end of the second leg.

Stohl was happier today, having solved the transmission problems he had yesterday and regained the confidence he'd lost. Justin Dale was lying inside the top 20 in the fourth factory-specification Accent WRC when he went off into a concrete block in Baumholder. He's now just outside the top 30.

Schwarz said: ''The gearbox was strange, it was selecting different gears on one stage. Going down from fourth, it went straight into first - which locked the rear wheels and caused us to spin at the finish of SS10. After that we lost second and third gears. Once that problem was fixed, the car went well.''

Loix added: ''We had to turn the ALS off on the stages where we had the throttle problem [SS10/11]. It was hard to drive the car, it was idling between 3,000 and 4,000rpm. The other problem today was taking a tyre which was a little too soft for the penultimate loop.''

Skoda's Toni Gardemeister retired in SS12 with suspension trouble, while Didier Auriol went out on the superspecial stage last night.

Gardemeister started the day in 15th place, he made up some time on the next couple of stages – but dropped back when he damaged the left-rear suspension of his Fabia on the 11th test. The team worked hard to fix the problem, welding parts back together. Unfortunately for the team this repair did not last and the Finn joined the list of retirements on the following stage.

Gardemeister said: ''It is a real shame that we've retired. This morning the car felt good and I feel that the times we were setting were good. They might not have looked so good, but we were having a few problems - take those problems away and the times would have been really good. Now we have some more work to do before we go to Finland, but I'm really looking forward to my home event.''

Of the other entries Mitsubishi driver Dani Sola continues to lead the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, but Marcos Ligato moved past Martin Rowe for second spot.

Cedric Robert is the top non-official driver, holding a top ten place and fellow Peugeot driver Czech Roman Kresta, made his day winning the Superspecial Stage of St. Wendel.



Rally statistics:

Starters: 66 crews (32 Group A and 34 Group N) started this morning.

Top retirements: Gardemeister (FIN), Bugalski (F), Paasonen (FIN).

Today - Saturday 26 July: Leg 2 started from Trier at 06h30 and covered 573.01km, including 169.38km on nine stages.

Tomorrow - Sunday 27 July: Leg 3 starts from Trier at 05h00 and covers 557.83km, including 101.54km on six stages. The first car is expected to arrive back in Trier, Porta Nigra, at 15h50.

Weather forecast: Cloudy with occasional rain.



Stage by stage summary - Leg two:

SS8 Bosenberg 1 (17.06kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 9m 16.8
2. Duval (B) Ford 9m 20.7
3. Martin (EE) Ford 9m 23.0

Leaders after SS8:
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 1h 18m 10.6
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 1h 18m 11.3
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 1h 18m 25.8

SS9 Peterberg 1 (10.43kms):
1. Martin (EE) Ford 6m 09.5
2. Loeb (F) Citroen 6m 12.6
3. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 6m 12.7

Leaders after SS9:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Ford 1h 24m 24.0
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 1h 24m 27.2
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 1h 24m 38.4

SS10 Erzweiler (19.88kms):
1. Martin (EE) Ford 11m 45.6
2. McRae (GB) Citroen 11m 48.3
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 11m 49.4

Leaders after SS10:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Ford 1h 36m 18.2
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 1h 36m 23.2
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 1h 36m 27.8

SS11 Pazerplatte West 1 (34.99kms):
1. Martin (EE) Ford 19m 31.9
2. Kresta (CZ) Peugeot 19m 47.9
3. McRae (GB) Citroen 19m 54.2

Leaders after SS11:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Ford 1h 56m 15.0
2. Loeb (F) Citroen 1h 56m 24.6
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 1h 56m 43.2

SS12 Erzweiler 2 (19.88kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 11m 40.6
2. Martin (EE) Ford 11m 42.7
3. Gronholm (FIN) Ford 11m 43.8

Leaders after SS12:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Ford 2h 08m 58.8
2. Loeb (F) Citroen 2h 08m 05.2
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 2h 08m 38.2

SS13 Panzerplatte West 2 (34.99kms):
1. Martin (EE) Ford 19m 01.6
2. Loeb (F) Citroen 19m 01.8
3. McRae (GB) Citroen 19m 06.1

Leaders after SS13:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 2h 27m 07.0
2. Gronholm (FIN) Ford 2h 27m 08.6
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 2h 27m 45.3

SS14 Peterberg 2 (10.43kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 6m 25.4
2. Loeb (F) Citroen 6m 25.7
3. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 6m 26.2

Leaders after SS14:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 2h 33m 32.7
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 2h 33m 34.0
3. McRae (GB) Citroen 2h 34m 13.5

SS15 Bosenberg 2 (17.06kms):
1. Martin (EE) Ford 8m 56.5
2. Duval (B) Ford 9m 00.0
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 9m 05.1

Leaders after SS15:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 2h 42m 37.8
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 2h 42m 45.1
3. Martin (EE) Ford 2h 43m 14.8

SS16 Superspecial St. Wendel 2 (6.65kms):
1. Kresta (CZ) Peugeot 3m 38.0
2. Schwarz (D) Hyundai 3m 39.2
3. Loix (B) Hyundai 3m 39.8

Leaders after SS16:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 2h 46m 20.8
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot +5.5
3. Martin (EE) Ford +34.8
4. McRae (GB) Citroen +45.3
5. Burns (GB) Peugeot +48.8
6. Sainz (E) Citroen +1m 54.6
7. Duval (B) Ford +1m 59.4
8. Panizzi (F) Peugeot +2m 19.2
9. Robert (F) Peugeot +2m 51.4
10. Solberg (N) Subaru +2m 54.2





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