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Wales - day 2: Latvala still on course for win.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala managed to hold on to the lead following day two of the Wales Rally GB on Saturday, the final round in the 2008 World Rally Championship.

The Finn, who had grabbed P1 on Friday afternoon and who began the second leg with a 12.9 second cushion, initially saw his advantage cut back to just 0.8 seconds, when he was only sixth fastest through SS9. Jari-Matti lost out running first on the road in the 30.68 km Resolfen 1 test and while conditions were much improved compared to Friday, there was still plenty of ice around.

Latvala struck back though in the next test, SS10, and another stage win allowed him take the margin back up to 10 seconds. In the end he headed into the mid-day halt in Swansea 8.9 seconds up on Sebastien Loeb.

On the repeat loop in the afternoon the youngster saw his lead trimmed to 8.4 seconds in SS12 and then just 2.4 seconds in SS13, when he had quite a big scare on a downhill section 1.5 kilometres in.

"It was under braking and we hit sheet ice," Latvala explained following Halfway 2. "I couldn't do anything and we hit the barrier on my side of the car. Luckily we bounced back into the road so we didn't lose too much time. It's difficult to find the balance between attacking and staying on the road."

Latvala though did seemingly find the balance in SS14 and following the final proper test - and another stage win, his fifth of the event - he took a 10.8 lead in the short Cardiff SSS. He finally finished day 2 with a 7.3 second margin and he will be determined to try and hang onto that place on Sunday and win what will be only his second ever WRC event.

"I don't want to be in front tomorrow morning. The best place to be is behind somebody else," Latvala added, "but if I am first out there I just have to do my very, very best."

Sebastien Loeb meanwhile is still second and while he did briefly drop behind his team-mate, Dani Sordo this morning, he soon re-took the place. Although he kept Latvala honest - and was in the top three in five of the days six 'proper' stages - he conceded that he was wary of pushing too much, especially as Citroen has still to wrap up the manufacturers' championship.

With Seb currently second though and Dani Sordo now running third in the sister C4 WRC, it is definitely looking good for the French marque, which began the weekend with an 11-point lead.



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