BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen fought back on the repeat loop this afternoon in Poland and took his lead back up to 12 seconds.

Hirvonen, who began day two with an 8.9 second cushion, saw his margin slashed to just 3 seconds following the first three stages.

However he put in a real charge this afternoon and in the first test, the 11.88 kilometre Danowo 2 stage, beat his closest rivals, team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and Citroen's Dani Sordo by over 6 seconds.

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He then further consolidated his advantage in SS12, slightly increasing the gap by 0.7 seconds, before coming out of the final stage of the day, with the margin up to just over 10 seconds.

"I am going flat-out all the time," said Hirvonen. "The stages are very fast. It has been a pretty good day. I thought it would be a little easier, but it has been fantastic anyway."

Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile ended proceedings comfortably in second and like Mikko managed to put more air between himself and Sordo this afternoon.

"I was driving on the limit today, absolutely flat-out at times," said Latvala. "It was insane. Dani was giving it a real go and making life difficult."

Sordo though was unable to maintain the pressure on the repeat loop. Indeed he slipped further back and now lies 38.5 seconds off P1 and 26.5 seconds off 'silver'. He had cut the deficit to P2 to just over 15 seconds heading into the mid-day halt.

Further down the order, there is a great three-way fight for fourth, and Sebastien Ogier currently holds the position, although both Petter and Henning Solberg are not far behind and less than 10 seconds separates the trio.

Next up in seventh is Britain's Matthew Wilson, albeit more than 1.5 minutes off the fight for P4. He is followed by three-time Rally Poland winner and Stobart Ford 'third' driver, Krzysztof Holowczyc. The 1997 European Rally champion felt more comfortable with his Focus today and is currently on course to pick up the final drivers' point.

Citroen Junior Team's Conrad Rautenbach and Mads Ostberg complete the top ten. Rautenbach had started the day in eighth, but he was unable to keep it and slipped behind Holowczyc in SS9.

Of the rest, Evgeny Novikov lies just outside the top ten, 30.6 seconds up on Michal Bebenek, who is well on course for the N4 win in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Novikov, who re-started under the SupeRally after his off in SS4 on Friday, began day two in 28th place, but he has since climbed right back up.

Sebastien Loeb also rejoined the fold this morning under the SupeRally and he now lies 13th and one spot up on Kevin Abbring, who leads the Junior World Rally Championship category.

Abbring had lost the J-WRC lead following SS10, but on the repeat loop battled back and overhauled Michal Kosciuszko in the final test of the day. Abbring now has a slender 0.8 second lead, while Martin Prokop rounds out the Junior podium, 28.8 seconds further back, followed by Yoann Bonato and Hans Weijs in fourth and fifth respectively.

There were no major retirements today - although Andreas Mikkelsen was unable to continue in his privately-run Skoda Fabia WRC following engine problems last night. The Finn had been running strongly on his first event with the Fabia and was in the top-five until his mechanical woes in SS7.

The action now concludes on Sunday with five stages on the bill - and around 87 competitive kilometres. SS14, the 27.07 kilometre Milki 1 test, begins at 07.51 hours local time.