Sébastien Loeb hits the front!
Rally Mexico (4 – 7 March 2010) – Day 2

After an exceptional display, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena lead Rally Mexico at the end of the second day. The six-time world champions put on a stunning show winning eight of the nine stages,and have opened up a comfortable lead of almost a minute over Petter Solberg and Sébastien Ogier involved in a ding-dong battle for second spot. With only fifty timed kilometres to go on the last day, the Citroën Total World Rally Team crew looks well placed to score their fourth consecutive victory in Mexico.

The second day of the rally with almost 160 kilomètres of special stages was the piece de resistance of Rally Mexico. The stages between León and Guanajuato, were as dusty and slippery as the previous day. Loeb was third on the road behind Solberg and Ogier and he had set himself an objective that was as simple as it was difficult; namely, to pull back the 27 seconds lost yesterday, take the lead and build up a cushion of at least 30 seconds!

The day kicked off with a stage of almost 30 kilomètres, Ibarrilla. Loeb pulled back 16 seconds and it was only his first shot. This stage didn’t go off quite so well for Dani Sordo who had to stop because of a broken wishbone screw: “I was just a bit off line in a slow section and we hit a stone. We tried to carry out repairs, but we couldn’t as a part was twisted. It’s a huge disappointment as I was on the same pace as Seb in the first part of the stage. The car’s been repaired and I’ll restart in the Super Rally tomorrow. That’ll allow me to gain some more experience and maybe score a few points in the World Championship for Manufacturers.”

Loeb was now left to defend the Citroën Total World Rally Team’s chances alone, and he continued his brilliant display in the following stages. In SS11 (Duarte 1), he took the lead from Solberg. He kept up the pressure and set two more fastest times. When he got back to the León service park, the no.1 C4 WRC driver had a huge grin on his face: “It’s all gone according to plan! My third place wasn’t the best but it’s helped me to take the lead. Now I’m seventeen seconds in front of Petter. I’ll have to continue pushing this afternoon. If the gap’s over half a minute I can tackle the final day in a relaxed state of find.”

Seb continued his demonstration in the second run through the stages and he respected his plan. Inexorably, he set the quickest times and extended his lead to almost a minute. He only lost the final superspecial to Sébastien Ogier and he returned to the parc fermé with the feeling of a job well done: “We gave nothing away today. It’s just been fantastic, we felt so good in the C4 WRC that we were able to push from start to finish. Our lead should be enough for tomorrow, but it won’t be all that easy. We’ll be sweeping the road for our pursuers. We’ll have to find the right rhythm and stay concentrated till the finish!”

Overall classification and the end of the second day
1. Loeb / Elena Citroën C4 3h08’49’’6
2. Ogier / Ingrassia Citroën C4 +55’’5
3. P. Solberg / Mills Citroën C4 +58’’2
4. Latvala / Anttila Ford Focus +1’43’’9
5. Hirvonen / Lehtinen Ford Focus +1’59’’9
6. H. Solberg / Minor Ford Focus +2’25’’2
7. Villagra / Perez Companc Ford Focus +9’11’’8
8. Prokop / Tomanek Ford Fiesta +16’28’’0
9. Pons / Haro Ford Fiesta +16’32’’8
10. Araujo / Miguel Ford Fiesta +18’04’’7
18. Sordo / Marti Citroën C4 +45’13’’4

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