Sebastien Loeb remains on course for a fourth succesive WRC victory after maintaining his position at the head of the field on the second day of the Rally of Turkey.

The Citroen man was quickest on three stages to bring the day to a close with a lead of 1min 16.6secs over title rival Petter Solberg, who climbed up two places during Saturdays seven stages on the back of three stage wins of his own.

"Things are going the right way now and today has been completely different to yesterday when we were a long way off the pace," Solberg said at the end of the day. "We were the fastest overall on today's stages and I think that's down to the tyres and the weather. Leg one was difficult, but today it's been warmer and, even with the same tyre compound, the package has worked much, much better."

Solberg will face stiff competition for the runner-up slot from Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm, who admitted he had hoped to to be be fighting for victory but was now focused on bringing his car home on the podium.

"The car has again been very reliable, and we've got a good battle with Petter on the final day to look forward to," he said. "I'm going to be pushing hard but I don't want to do anything that risks our chance of scoring points for Peugeot."

Carlos Sainz remains in a lonely fourth place, and barring any problems on the final day will bring home points for the Citroen team on his one off comeback, while Markko Martin is also facing the prospect of a lonely final day after his closest rival Toni Gardemeister hit problems on the penultimate stage of the day.

"About 9km before the end, I took a fast left bend into a downhill section and hit some stones," the Finn explained. "Immediately I saw rubber flying off the tyre. I continued to the end, by which time the flailing rubber had damaged the bodywork around the wheel arch and bumper."

Ford team-mate Roman Kresta continued his risk free strategy to hold seventh and is within touching distance of Gardemeister in the fight for sixth.

The big loser of the day was Italian Gigi Galli, who started the leg in second place but found himself dropping down to tenth after turbo problems on both of the days opening two stages.

However the Mitsubishi man fought back with a fastest time on SS14 and by the end of the day was back into the points in eighth place.

"We had one small problem and the one thing that changed is our position," he said. "Sure, that is disappointing for everyone, but our objective remains the same; to show speed, the car's potential, to learn the roads and understand more and more about the set-up. You learn something from every rally and I just have to think that this is just not our time yet..."

Anthony Warmbold ends the leg in ninth place, with Harri Rovanpera tenth having restarted under the SupeRally rules.

In the PCWRC,Marcos Ligato continues to lead the way, although it looks likely to be a close battle for the win on leg three with Mark Higgins, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Toshi Arai all less than a minute off the lead.

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