Sebastien Loeb continued his dominance of the German Rally as he moved into a commanding lead on today’s second leg to stand on the brink of his ninth victory in this event.
Loeb has been the undisputed master of the German Rally since the event was introduced to the WRC calendar in 2002, his only failure to win coming last season when a puncture saw his then Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier claim the spoils.
The Frenchman now just has tomorrow’s three stages separating him from yet another win on German soil, with his lead of one minute 42.9 seconds certain to withstand any challenge from his rivals providing his DS3 WRC remains free of incident.
“A huge lead, so again a very good day and no problems,” said Loeb.
“We have finished the second day with a good lead so it’s looking good for tomorrow.”
The margin of Loeb’s lead increased dramatically on this morning’s opening stage when nearest challenger Petter Solberg crashed out.
Solberg retired after breaking the right-rear wheel of his Fiesta when he hit a rock on the Arena Panzerplatte stage, meaning Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was elevated to second place.
Latvala’s fellow Finn Mikko Hirvonen ended the day in third place in the second factory Citroen, with Mads Ostberg (Adapta Fiesta) fourth, the Mini of Chris Atkinson in fifth and Ogier sixth for Volkswagen.
The works Mini of Dani Sordo ran as high as third before a puncture and then a mechanical problem on the day’s final stage dropped him down the order.
Ott Tanak (M-Sport Fiesta) also ran strongly in the top six today but saw his day turn sour when he removed a rear wheel on a boulder and dropped to ninth place.