Jari-Matti Latvala has taken a shock Monte Carlo Rally lead after a bold tyre choice for the second stage of the event.
World champion and five-time Monte winner Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) had been quickest as expected on this morning's Le Moulinon to Antraigues opener, albeit by just one second ahead of the flying Dani Sordo's Mini.
SS1 had seen dry asphalt, but the following Burzet to St Martial stage featured patches of snow and ice. Loeb and Ford driver Latvala both opted for a mix of studded and slick tyres, placing one studded tyre at the front and one at the rear, diagonally apart.
While Loeb ran soft tyres, Latvala was on super softs, and despite having never tested the slick/studded combination in this configuration before, he put in an incredible stage time - 52s quicker than Loeb.
That moved Latvala from fourth place, 28s off the lead, to first - with a 30.5s advantage over Loeb.
Petter Solberg is third in the second works Ford, having impressively got through SS2 with no studded tyres at all and still been second-quickest, 28s behind Latvala but 24s faster than Loeb.
After his superb SS1 performance, Sordo clipped a wall and damaged his Mini's suspension on SS2. The Spaniard was still able to nurse his car through the stage and remains fourth overall.
Mikko Hirvonen was third after SS1 but struggled in SS2's tricky conditions as he continues to acclimatise to the Citroen DS3, leaving him fifth.
He is only just ahead of the man he replaced at Citroen, as Sebastien Ogier set a spectacular pace on the opening two stages to put his Volkswagen-run S2000 Skoda in sixth overall.
Young Frenchman Mathieu Arzeno is also flying in an S2000 car in eighth overall, but Bryan Bouffier - who won the event last year when it was part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge - lost five minutes on SS2 when he damaged his Peugeot hitting a bridge. Before that incident, Bouffier had been the best-placed S2000 driver overall in ninth.
Evgeny Novikov is currently the leading non-works Ford driver in seventh, two places ahead of his returnee team-mate Francois Delecour, back in the WRC for the first time in a decade.
Pierre Campana, driving the second factory Mini entry in place of Kris Meeke, was sixth overall after the first stage but has now fallen to 10th.
Further back, Citroen Junior driver Thierry Neuville is 13th after losing time behind Paolo Nobre's Mini on SS2, and Henning Solberg's Go Fast Ford has been hampered by differential issues and has already dropped seven minutes.
Leading positions after SS2: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 45m54.4s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 30.5s 3. Petter Solberg Ford + 40.8s 4. Dani Sordo Mini + 44.1s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 1m04.0s 6. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 1m10.9s 7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 1m17.1s 8. Mathieu Arzeno Sainteloc Peugeot + 1m35.7s 9. Francois Delecour M-Sport Ford + 1m49.3s 10. Pierre Campana Mini + 2m11.0s