BP Ford number two driver Mikko Hirvonen continues to lead the Wales Rally GB, the final round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, following the second leg on Saturday.

Mikko began the day nearly 40 seconds up on his team-mate Marcus Gronholm and while he had a bit of a slow start and was only fourth fastest in SS7, he bounced back in SS8 and SS9, posting two second fastest times.

He thus returned to the mid-day service in Swansea still comfortably in front, with a 32.6 seconds cushion over his illustrious team-mate.

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In the repeat loop in the afternoon the gap remained pretty static, with Mikko posting two third fastest efforts and a second to head to the short super special at Cardiff's Millennium stadium 35.7 seconds in front. He eventually finished the day with a 35.5 second lead.

Despite that cushion though he remains guarded and clearly isn't underestimating Gronholm: "It will be good to wake up in the morning in the lead, but I'm not taking anything for granted," he confirmed.

"Marcus might want to give me one last lesson before he retires so I will have to stay alert and keep the pace high to keep him behind me."

Gronholm meanwhile, who will retire from the sport after this event, continues to pace himself and ensure he remains well placed, should Sebastien Loeb have a problem, something that might give him a chance to land his third drivers' crown.

"There's no stress and no pressure as I can do nothing but wait and see what happens to Loeb," said the double world champion, who won the short Cardiff super special, which concluded the day's proceedings.

"I'm not enjoying driving at a steady pace but there's no plan to push to catch Mikko. It would be stupid for me to do that and make a mistake. My plan is to stay in second. It would be good to win my final rally but that's not my priority - the title is."

Loeb however is well on course to take the final place on the podium, a result which will be more than sufficient to keep him top in the drivers' championship.

Like Marcus he has found it difficult not pushing to win, but with conditions better on day 2, thanks to strong winds, which kept the fog away, the Frenchman has had an easier time. He finished up more than 30 seconds off Gronholm in P2, but also well ahead of Petter Solberg in P4.

"The weather conditions today were much better than the first day," said the Citroen man, who is going for his fourth drivers' title on the trot. "I've had no problems and I'm trying to be as smooth as possible.

"Everything is going to plan. I'm doing what I have to - there will be no attack from me on this rally."

Further down the order, Petter Solberg is fourth and while he had been hoping to attack Loeb and try and get third, any hope of achieving that vanished on the first stage of the day, when he spun in his Impreza and lost around 25 seconds trying to re-start the engine.

Daniel Sordo is next up after a solid showing in the #2 Citroen C4 WRC. The Spaniard didn't like the conditions one bit on Friday, but was more comfortable on Saturday, even though the stages were still very slippery due to more heavy rain.

Of the rest, Chris Atkinson and Matthew Wilson have spent the leg squabbling over sixth. Atkinson went in front this morning on the very first stage and while Wilson cut the gap to just 0.3 seconds after SS10, he lost out in SS11, SS12 and SS13 - and finished 10 seconds back in his Stobart Ford Focus.

OMV Kronos Citroen's Manfred Stohl rounds out the provisional points' scorers in eighth, 55.5 seconds off the battle for P6 and a similar amount up on Xavier Pons, who is ninth in the 'third' SWRT-run Impreza.

Mads Ostberg completes the top ten, with Skoda privateer, Jan Kopecky eleventh and Jari-Matti Latvala 12th.

Latvala was the star of the day and having re-started under the SupeRally, after going out on the final stage on day 1, he really turned it on, setting the pace in all the 'proper' stages. The Stobart man though didn't make much progress up the leader-board, as the time lost in SS6 was simply too much.

After Latvala, Munchi's team leader, Luis Perez Companc is 13th, with Britain's Guy Wilks and Mark Higgins 14th and 15th, 1-2 in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship category.

Wilks is looking good to take the PWRC win, more than a minute up on Higgins, while Juho Hanninen is third, a further 20 seconds back. Wilks and Higgins are also battling for the BRC honours - and with the clocks re-set in that class following leg 1, it is currently a lot closer there.

Alessandro Bettega and Armindo Araujo complete the PWRC top five, with David Higgins sixth.

There have been a number of retirements so far, but one of the most noticeable is Gabriel Pozzo, who had been in contention to take the Production crown. He was unable to re-start today though following his off on Friday and his demise hands the 2007 PWRC title to Toshi Arai, who is not competing this weekend as GB is not one of his nominated events [see separate story].

Several runners were able to re-join however, including in addition to Latvala, Henning Solberg and Sebastian Lindholm, who is giving the all-new SX4 WRC its debut on gravel. Henning finished the day having broke back into the top 20, while Lindholm is running around 35th - his best time coming in SS8, when he was 15th quickest.

The action now concludes on Sunday - with two stages on the bill, both of which will be repeated. SS14, the 28.89 kilometre-run through Brechfa 1, will begin the leg, getting underway at 07.46 hours local time - it is the longest stage of the event.