Citroen team leader, Sebastien Loeb has ended the second day of the Rally Mexico, the fourth round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, with a commanding lead.
Seb began the day with a 26 second cushion but he quickly stamped his authority on proceedings, and was quickest on the 30.20 kilometre Ibarrilla 1 stage to stretch the gap to 37 seconds. He then took another stage win on Durate 1 to take the margin to 48 seconds and although he had to settle for the second best time in Derramadero 1, he did enough to ease further in front.
The Frenchman then proceeded to consolidated his lead on the repeat runs in the afternoon and two more stage wins ensured he ended the day with over a minute in hand on his nearest rival.
Loeb's only problem came in SS10, when like a number of other drivers, including Mark Higgins, Matthew Wilson and Travis Pastrana, he was slowed by an unsecured gate, which caused an obstruction at one point on the 23.51 kilometre test.
Seb now intends to ease off on Sunday and pace himself to the finish: “I am so confident with my car and my timings today that tomorrow I may take it a little bit easier,” he noted following SS14.
Marcus Gronholm meanwhile moved up to second after a storming time on SS11, something that catapulted him three places up the leader-board. He then proceeded to build a good cushion in the afternoon and from being just 0.1 seconds up on his closest rival post-SS11, he now enjoys a 30-odd second 'lead'.
Overall the Finn was much happier on day two and while he was still disappointed to have 'wasted' one day, his focus is very much on securing the runners-up spot: “Maybe I am going much faster now, but I have still wasted one day and that is a shit,” he stated. “Now I must concentrate on taking second place.”
Mikko for his part was looking well placed to take third until a spin in SS13 dropped him to fourth. Although he managed to re-gain the final podium position in SS14, Daniel Sordo came back at him in the super specials and the Finn finished up 2.8 seconds adrift.
“I really thought that was the end [when I made an error in Duarte 2]. I went off, but I was so lucky. I managed to come to rest on the road, facing the wrong direction, and had to spin the car around. I had a 20-second lead over Dani and now that has gone. It will be a big fight now to the finish,” promised the Rally Norway victor.