Day 2: Solberg storms into lead

Petter Solberg was in a class of his own on the second afternoon of the Tour de Corse today (Saturday), setting the fastest time on all three stages to vault into the lead of the event and build up a substantial margin over his rivals

Day 2: Solberg storms into lead

The Norwegian's rise from eighth at the start of the day to first by its end owed something to the unpredictable conditions, but it was still an inspired performance from Solberg - driving a car that was all but written-off in a shakedown crash. He was 12.9s faster than his nearest rival on SS10, and by going through SS12 21.s faster than Francois Duval he turned a 3.2s deficit into a significant 17.9s lead.

Ford young gun Duval simply couldn't match his Subaru rival in the conditions. The Belgian was fourth fastest on SS10 and third quickest on SS11, but was only seventh quickest on the crucial final stage of the day.

Markko Martin, Duval's team-mate, showed that the Focus was capable of quick times on the stages, with the Estonian only outpaced by Solberg on SS10 and 11. However, Martin is a long way down the order in 12th due to his calamitous spin this morning.

Carlos Sainz was Duval's closest rival for much of the day, before Solberg charged by both of them. The Spaniard slowly ate into the gap to Duval over the afternoon, and heads into the final day just 4.5s off second place.

Colin McRae continued his consistent, if unspectacular run, and moved up to fourth overall as several of his rivals struggled. However, the Scot is nearly a minute back from Citroen team-mate Sainz, and will need some luck to get onto the podium.

Marcus Gronholm had a frustrating afternoon and, along with Gilles Panizzi, was unhappy with his tyre choice for much of the afternoon. This cost him a substantial amount of time - 47.1s in SS10 alone - dropping him down to fifth after he had been running in third.

Panizzi, who benefited greatly form inspired tyre choice this morning, made the same mistake as Gronholm on stages that were described as drying but with large damp patches. The Frenchman has dropped back to sixth overall, although he is just 2.9s behind his world champion team-mate.

Tommi Makinen lies seventh, having pulled ahead of Richard Burns by setting the second fastest time behind his team-mate on SS12, with Subaru's Pirelli tyres looking strong in the conditions.

After passing Philippe Bugalski but being leap-frogged by Makinen, Burns continues to run eighth, the last of the points paying positions. The Briton suffered in similar fashion to his Peugeot team-mates in the conditions, although he did manage to set the sixth fastest time on SS11 - just 9.9s slower than leader Solberg.

Petter Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC03
Francois Duval Ford Focus RS WRC03 +17.9s
Carlos Sainz Citroen Xsara +27.4s
Colin McRae Citroen Xsara +1m15.5s
Marcus Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC +1m23.6s
Gilles Panizzi Peugeot 206 WRC +1m26.5s
Tommi Makinen Subaru Impreza WRC03 +2m10.3s
Richard Burns Peugeot 206 WRC +2m22.0s

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Day 2am: Duval to the fore

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