Battle for Second Behind Loeb

World Rally Championship pace-setter Sebastien Loeb maintained his dominance of this week's Rally of Turkey, ending the second leg of the Kemer-based event with a 1:16 advantage over Petter Solberg

Battle for Second Behind Loeb

While Loeb controlled proceedings from the front - his only problem coming when he took a softer tyre for the predicted rain, which never arrived, on middle loop of stages. Neither his Citroen Xsara WRC or the Frenchman, who has already won four from six rallies this season, looked like faltering through today's largely dry conditions.

The main interest was centred on the battle for second place. Ahead of the second leg, it had been a three-way affair, led by Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli, who had turned in a stunning performance to head off Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm and Subaru man Solberg through the opening leg.

Unfortunately for the Italian, turbo failure shortly after the start of the opening stage of the day cost him dearly. He dropped to tenth and left the other two squabbling over the runners-up spot.

Solberg spent the morning closing on Gronholm and eventually passed him on SS13. The Norwegian was considerably happier than he had been in yesterday's ever-changing weather.

"If the weather had been like this today, we could have pushed for the lead," he said. Instead, he had to content himself with another final-day battle with Gronholm. The Peugeot driver had found little to cheer about throughout the leg, commenting: "Okay, it's good to be in the fight for second, but everybody wants to fight for first."

Solberg goes into the final day with 5.8s in hand over Gronholm. Loeb, however, is 1:16.6 clear. With only two stages in tomorrow's final leg, it's hard to see him missing out on a fourth-straight win and further enhancing his Drivers' Championship lead.

Leg 2 Classification

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h44:33.200 2. Petter Solberg Subaru + 1:16.600 3. Marcus Groenholm Peugeot + 1:24.400 4. Carlos Sainz Citroen + 3:36.800 5. Markko Maertin Peugeot + 5:11.300 6. Toni Gardemeister Ford + 7:33.300 7. Roman Kresta Ford + 7:53.500 8. Gianluigi Galli Mitsubishi + 9:00.400 9. Antony Warmbold Ford + 10:40.700 10. Harri Rovanpera Mitsubishi + 12:47.800 
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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author David Evans
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