Day 2: Loeb in charge

It's been all-change at the top on Day Two of the Rallye Deutschland with bad news for overnight leader Richard Burns as Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Markko Martin playing the starring roles

Day 2: Loeb in charge

Loeb has had a storming day and he moved up into the lead on SS13 - the second run through the day's longest stage, Panzerplatte West. After the final stage of the day, the Frenchman, who won this rally last year, led by 5.5sec.

Gronholm has been there or thereabouts all day, but by the end he was well placed in second position. Ready to attack Loeb's lead and with an encouraging 29.3sec advantage over the mercurial Martin.

Martin's performance was mighty impressive. Having lost almost one and a half minutes yesterday to a gearbox problem, the Ford star has been on fightback all day and he's stormed up from 10th overnight to third, setting five fastest times on the way.

The Estonian's biggest gain came on the first run through Panzerplatte West - the stage which brought the biggest shake-up of the day. Markko drove the stage just before a rain shower which slowed all the runners behind him on the road, which conveniently included all those ahead of him in the order. That though was the only real piece of luck in a highly impressive run for both Martin and the Focus RS WRC 03.

Colin McRae holds fourth place for Citroen, just ahead of Burns in the Peugeot. McRae had an up and down sort of day, while Burns simply seemed to lose a little on every stage.

Overall it's not been a great day for the Brits and neither is in a realistic position to attack for the lead tomorrow. They're well-placed to move into contention for a podium place should one of the top three falter, but that's probably about it, though it should be pointed out that the final day's running takes in vineyard stages and Burns shone in similar terrain on Friday.

Carlos Sainz and Francois Duval have been swapping sixth place back and forth, with the ball settling in the Spaniard's hands overnight after Duval struggled on slicks on the rainy final stage.

Gilles Panizzi is just over 20 seconds behind Duval in eight - the final point-scoring place. He's also got a comfortable 30-second cushion over fellow French Peugeot pilot Cedric Robert.

Casualties today included Toni Gardemeister's Skoda Fabia WRC which twice suffered suspension damage in the Panzerplatte West stage. The first episode delayed the Finn, the second stopped him and the new car's promising debut.

Philippe Bugalski dropped out with turbo problems on his Citroen on SS11. That stage also accounted for Mitsubishi hopeful Jani Paasonen who had a heavy shunt which landed both crew members in hospital, co-driver Arto Kapanen with broken ribs and shoulder.

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