Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb doubled his overnight advantage on day two of the Rallye Deutschland on Saturday, finishing proceedings with a 40.3 second lead.

Just like on the opening leg, the Frenchman was in a class of his own and he won all four tests on the opening loop. He thus returned to the mid-day halt with his cushion up to 35.9 seconds and while he did have a bit of a scare in SS9, when he almost went off the road near the finish, that was his only real drama.

In the afternoon Seb continued to push and he posted an additional three fastest times in SS11, SS12 and SS13. It was only in the final test of the day that his team-mate Dani Sordo spoilt his run and prevented him from taking a perfect 14 from 14, Seb losing out as he was 2.7 seconds slower.

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"At the moment, all is going well. The car is running perfectly. I hope that we can continue like this tomorrow," reflected the four-time world champion. "There are still five stages to go, but I am confident. The fact that Dani is second is also quite pleasant."

Sordo meanwhile grabbed P2 immediately this morning, overhauling Mikko Hirvonen in SS7. The Spaniard then eased out a gap and in addition to topping the times in the repeat run through Arena Panzerplatte, he was second quickest in all the other tests, except SS9 when he was third.

"It was a very good day for me," noted Dani, who is now just over a minute up on P3. "The feeling with the car is very different. Yesterday, it didn't go very well with the tyres and I still lacked confidence in the car, but it is getting better and better all the time.

"For the manufacturers' standings, it would be great to score a one-two here, which would allow us to take an advantage over Ford."

Francois Duval is third, having moved up in the final test when Mikko Hirvonen slipped back following a puncture. Duval had a pretty trouble-free day, his only issue in SS10 when he ripped off a bumper.

"It was quite difficult today. Today, we changed the diffs as I wasn't happy with the set-up we had yesterday. It was better, but having been out of the series for seven months means that I still have to find my way back," he conceded. "I am happy with third place though, but I am well aware of the fact that Mikko Hirvonen is hot on my heels."

Hirvonen had a disappointing leg and was unable to match yesterday's pace in the new 2008 spec Focus RS WRC. He struggled to find a good rhythm and his problem in the last test, when his car's left rear tyre deflated 8 kilometres from the end, cost him around 20-30 seconds.

"I didn't have any rhythm and made many small mistakes. I didn't trust my pace notes first time through the stages so I was too cautious and that's where I lost time. No matter how hard I drove, I couldn't match Sordo's times," he stated.

"In the final stage I hit a hole and the broken concrete punctured the rear tyre. I drove the final 8km on the wheel rim. I would have been happy to clear that stage and settle for third tomorrow. I dropped 45sec but there was no way I could have stopped to change it in that time so I made the right decision to continue. Now I need to fight against Duval tomorrow and that won't be easy."

Further down the order Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson complete the top six, and throughout the day both were very pretty evenly matched in their Subaru Impreza WRC2008s. Atkinson did lose more ground though, mainly due to a puncture in SS11, the first one after the mid-day service. The two are now split by 1 minute 3.4 seconds.

"Today has really not been bad and I felt much more comfortable in the car," said 'Hollywood'. "Sure there's still more to do before we're right on the pace, but I felt much easier in the car this afternoon. It was actually quite good fun, not bad at all. I think we're going in the right direction."

Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Citroen semi-privateer Urmo Aava round out the provisional points' scorers, the latter still on course for the final drivers' point despite hitting a tree in SS7 and knocking off his rear spoiler.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala and Suzuki's Toni Gardemeister came in ninth and tenth - and Jari was annoyed with himself after a mistake in SS9 cost him over 90 seconds. That dropped him from fifth down to tenth and while he made up a spot this afternoon and now lies just 2.6 seconds off seventh, he was still pretty frustrated.

"I had a slight error in my pace notes about 3km from the finish of SS9 and I came over a crest, flat out in fifth gear, into a chicane sooner than I expected," he explained. "I was going too fast and tried to avoid the bales by going into a field alongside the road. There was a ditch between the road and the field and the car jumped and I rolled lightly into the field. It was stuck and I had to wait for people to push me out."

Of the rest Andreas Mikkelsen and Matthew Wilson are eleventh and twelfth respectively, while Conrad Rautenbach, Khalid Al Qassimi and Erik Wever are 13th, 14th and 15th, with Per-Gunnar Andersson in 16th.

P-G had been running 11th in his Suzuki SX4 WRC, but he hit a kerb in SS8 damaging the rear wheel hub and suspension. He then had to limp back to service, dropping more than 5 minutes.

In the Junior World Rally Championship category, Sebastien Ogier took over at the top in SS8 and he now has commanding lead over 3 minutes up on the similar Citroen C2 S1600 of Aaron Burkart.

Alessandro Bettega completes the J-WRC top three, followed by Shaun Gallagher and Simone Bertolotti.

Overnight J-WRC leader Martin Prokop was forced out in SS9 with an alternator failure. He is expected to SupeRally on Sunday.

In terms of 'big' retirements, Gigi Galli remains the only works driver to have gone out, following his high-speed crash on day 1. The Italian broke his left leg in the incident and underwent surgery on Friday night. He is expected to be out now for some time, possibly the rest of the season.

"We are glad that Gigi's operation last night went well," said Ford/M-Sport boss, Malcolm Wilson. "He has had three pins put into his left leg. My wife has already been to the hospital to visit him. He is smiling and seems to be happy, but of course, he will be out for a long time - the next three to four events, if not for the whole season."

The Rallye Deutschland now returns to the Mosel vineyards for the final day on Sunday. After a 06.15 start, drivers tackle five tests covering 85 competitive kilometres before the finish ceremony alongside Trier's historic Porta Nigra gate at 16.15 [all times local]. They face two loops of two stages in the vineyards before a spectacular test in the city streets around Porta Nigra - the 4.37 km Circus Maximus Trier super special.