Martin Rowe is taking a measured approach to winning the Production Car World Rally Championship [PCWRC] in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI at the Tour de Corse.

At the end of the first leg, the Englishman lies two places behind main rival Toshi Arai, who is fourth overall. Arai needs to win the event, or finish second overall to have any chance of overhauling Rowe's seven points lead in the PCWRC.

"We're pushing very hard," said Arai. "But I don't think we got the car set up quite right for the conditions."

Rowe on the other hand confesses to being a little bored due to his conservative approach.

"Rallying at this pace seems un-natural," said Rowe. "But if three days of it wins the championship then I'm happy. The biggest problem is concentrating when you're not driving at close to maximum."

With co-driver Trevor Agnew, Rowe took things particularly easy through the day's fifth and sixth stages, which were repeats of stages two and three. "It was very rough with a lot of gravel and sand pulled out onto the road by the front cars," said Rowe.

Arai started the day having raised the ride height of his brand new tarmac specification Subaru Impreza WRX STI, a precaution he had taken because of the rough tarmac roads.

However he found the car had too much body roll and the handling was not as sharp as when he had tested the car before the start of the rally.

At the service before the second group of three stages the ride height was lowered and harder compound tyres fitted because of the abrasive nature of the tarmac stages.

His efforts were thwarted by a puncture near the end of stage four which lost him about 15 seconds.

"These kind of tarmac stages are very hard to drive," said Arai. "Maybe Corsica is the hardest tarmac rally of all. We'll be trying hard to pass a couple of cars tomorrow. That's all we can do."