Day 2 am: Gronholm takes over in front

Marcus Gronholm has taken over the lead of Rallye Deutschland on the second morning of the event as comeback man Markko Martin set the pace on three of the four stages

Day 2 am: Gronholm takes over in front

Gronholm all-but wiped out Richard Burns' overnight lead when he won the the first stage of the day, overhauled the Englishman on the next and then eased away over the balance of the morning.

The big star of the morning though was Martin. After a cautious start on SS8, Bosenberg 1, the Estonian simply flew. He'd started the day in 10th place, 1m27.6sec behind leader Burns. At the end of the morning he was fifth and only 47.7sec behind new leader Gronholm. Burns is just 19.5sec ahead in third place.

Martin did get a big slice of luck on the final stage of the morning, completing his run before a heavy shower made conditions much harder for the drivers ahead of him in the overall standings, who were all running after him on the road.

That Panzerplatte West stage (SS11) was where he took most time off his rivals, but you'd be unwise put his success on that stage down to luck alone. There have been four stages in the rally so far held, like this one, on the tank proving grounds and Martin has won them all.

The man in the driving seat of the rally though is undoubtedly Gronholm and he holds a narrow 9.6sec lead over 2002 winner Sebastien Loeb of Citroen. Burns is 28.2sec down in third place - the bulk of that time lost on the wet SS11.

With the weather still very uncertain each of the top three retains a very real chance of endng the day on top and you shouldn't automatically rule out Colin McRae and Martin in fourth and fifth places either. As McRae put it: "You really just need a bit of luck."

Those out of luck this morning included Skoda's Toni Gardemeister, who lost 10 minutes after breaking suspension in a heavy landing; Petter Solberg who lost a minute in his Subaru after a similar but less serious problem; Gilles Panizzi who struggled with brake problems on his Peugeot and slid down the order from fifth to eighth; Hyundai's Armin Schwarz - gearbox trouble and his team-mate Freddy Loix's co-driver Sven Smeets who had to endure eight km of the Panzerplatte stage secured - or not - with a broken safety harness. Philippe Bugalski had it even worse, retiring with a turbo problem.

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Day 1 update: Burns leads overnight

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