Day 2: Martin launches attack

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb is still leading after a dry afternoon in Spain, but his advantage has at last been cut. Markko Martin has reduced the gap to just over 20 seconds after winning two of this afternoon's three stages.

Day 2: Martin launches attack

Yesterday's neck problems have not been entirely forgotten by Martin, so the young Estonian is doing a fine job under difficult circumstances. Although Loeb won the last stage of the day after the gap had dipped to 19 seconds, Martin can feel confident ahead of Sunday. The Ford driver doesn't share Loeb's championship considerations, so can afford to attack fully tomorrow.

Martin wasn't so sure: "I think Sebastien is a quick enough driver to keep the advantage he has. I just have to make sure I am there is he slips."

The battle for second petered out after lunch, as Martin was quicker than Gilles Panizzi on every stage. Although Panizzi did not show such strength in the afternoon, he remains safe in third, 29 seconds clear of Carlos Sainz.

Sainz's afternoon was only marginally better than his morning, and would now be behind François Duval if the Ford hasn't picked up a ten-second penalty for leaving service a minute late after a pedal box change on his Focus. Duval is still only three seconds behind the ailing local hero.

A consolation for Sainz, who was second last night, is that his two nearest championship rivals are behind him. Richard Burns remains in a consistent sixth, but out of touch with Duval despite the Belgian's problems. And Petter Solberg is still tenth and out of the points.

Marcus Gronholm, who lost time through poor tyre choice yesterday, looks set to overhaul Colin McRae for seventh early tomorrow. But with the Scot currently 32 seconds behind Burns, Gronholm's charge may stop there if there are no further retirements.

Although rain didn't show up today - putting some weather analysts to shame - the forecasters are even more certain it will be around tomorrow. As Sanremo showed, any precipitation could fizz things up before the victory ramp.


Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) 2h46m28.6s
Markko Martin (Ford) +20.8s
Gilles Panizzi (Peugeot) +36.7s
Carlos Sainz (Citroen) +1m05.2s
François Duval (Ford) +1m08.5s
Richard Burns (Peugeot) +1m40.4s

shares
comments
Day 2am: Loeb in control

Previous article

Day 2am: Loeb in control

Next article

Day 3am: Subaru in the hunt

Day 3am: Subaru in the hunt
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021