Jari-Matti Latvala has continued his run at the front of Rallye Deutschland as the notorious stages took its toll on some of his rivals.
The Finn won five of the seven special stages on often wet and muddy roads to stretch his lead to 56.6sec with four speed tests remaining tomorrow.
Citroen’s Kris Meeke is holding onto second just ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai).
Latvala should be able to control things from the front tomorrow. His championship position the highest priority after championship leader and Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier crashed for a second time.
“It should be fine. I think we can take it easy tomorrow on stages that are a bit shorter than in previous years,” said Latvala.
“You never want anything bad for your team-mate but I need this victory to happen to open up the championship fight. But first I have to finish and keep my head cool.”
Ogier left to explain a rare second crash in the same event.
“We were in sixth gear on a long straight. Then there was a slight right turn over a crest. The jump was a bit further than we thought, the rear broke off when we landed and I lost control of the car,” said Ogier.
“We smashed into the crash barrier and came to a stop on a slope with smallish trees. They took us to hospital for routine tests but we both walked away without injury.”
Neuville was the driver to watch throughout the second leg as he climbed from fifth to pass Andreas Mikkelsen (VW) and team-mate Dani Sordo. Sordo remained in contact until he aquaplaned in sixth gear in standing water and spun onto the grass. He dropped 10sec but retained fourth ahead of Mikkelsen.
Not as good news for the Hyundai of Bryan Bouffier, who crashed on the final stage.
Australia’s Adrian Coppin continued his event of learning sitting in 48th place overall in his smaller class Citroen.
“On the one hand we’ve just been running our own race, especially because I lost so much time with power problems,” said Coppin.
“But you do look at the times of the other guys around you and by the end of the day we were setting stage times with one and a half seconds a kilometre of the top guys who have grown up rallying on tarmac.”
The final days is back amongst the Mosel vineyards with drivers facing two loops of two tests covering 74.60km.
VIDEO: Morning Stages
VIDEO: Bryan Bouffier crash
POSITIONS: Leg 2 – Rallye Deutschland
|6||Mikko Hirvonen||M-Sport Ford||+1m53.2s|
|7||Elfyn Evans||M-Sport Ford||+1m58.1s|
|9||Martin Prokop||Czech Ford||+4m09.6s|
|10||Robert Kubica||M-Sport Ford||+6m39.1s|