Day 2: Team by team

All the factory nominated drivers are still running at the end of leg two in Sweden, but every team endured some kind of dramatic tribulation during Saturday's stages. While Subaru and Peugeot fight for the lead, Citroen are fighting to keep Sebastien Loeb in the event. Autosport's rallies editor David Evans rounds up the latest from the service area

Day 2: Team by team


Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb slipped back from the cut and thrust of the fight for the win through leg two. He ran without mechanical trouble in the Xsara, but a minor off on the ninth stage - dropping him about four seconds - typified a day where the Frenchman couldn't quite get to grips with the lead battle. The one place where he could do no wrong was Sundsjon, fastest through the stage both times. A potential engine problem arose in the final moments of the day, threatening his further participation in the rally. Three punctures on the middle loop cost Francois Duval dearly. He stopped to change in SS11, at the cost of five minutes. Not a great day for the Belgian.


Toni Gardemeister's hopes of making serious inroads on the men ahead were knocked back on the first stage this morning. Third quickest at the first split, it all came to nought when he spun the Focus a couple of miles later. The back end of the car bounced off a bank, squashing the exhaust and limiting the car's power. By the end of leg two, he had the second points-scoring Focus - that of Henning Solberg - just 3.2s behind him in sixth spot. That third and final leg is going to be a fascinating one for the Ford team. Let's just hope team principal Malcolm Wilson lets them get on with it.


Petter Solberg stepped his pace up a notch, but promised there was still a little gas left in the tank. That's got to be questionable through Vergasen, a test which clearly suits the Solberg, Subaru and Pirelli package. He was on fire through the two runs at the stage. Nobody could touch him, but the man himself couldn't really see what all the fuss was about. Those two stages formed the basis of a 12s advantage ahead of the final leg. Chris Atkinson's fight back from his first-stage off continued with the Australian driver making the top ten, posting some amazing times along the way.


Two runs through the Vergasen test ruined Marcus Gronholm's day. He dropped 18s on the brace of stages and would spend the rest of the leg fighting like mad to claw the time back. He much preferred the middle loop of stages, which contained more snow and were reminiscent of what the Swedish used to be like. Markko Martin was much happier today. He'd found a set-up he was happy with on the differential front and was making inroads towards a fastest time. Then a heavy landing on the tenth stage damaged the gearbox and left him with no differentials for SS11. He was lucky to make it back to service.


After the storm came the calm at Mitsubishi. Day one brought Gigi Galli's fastest time and plenty to cheer about for the Rugby-based team. Saturday still offered plenty to be cheerful about, but without the ultimate high of a fastest time. Galli pointedly talked of getting to the finish and getting mileage under his belt. The shine was taken off his day with a broken driveshaft on SS13, which dropped him one minute and four places on the leaderboard. Harri Rovanpera was happier with his car's set-up, having altered the roll bars overnight. The times improved, but the Finn admitted he still hadn't found the 'whole answer.'


Mattias Ekstrom's place inside the top ten was lost when the DTM champion suffered power steering failure on his Fabia WRC. He dropped almost four minutes on the final loop of stages and will now find scant reward for a workmanlike and consistent drive over the first two days. Janne Tuohino and Jani Paasonen were now the Skoda standard bearers, but after suffering problems on leg one, neither looked like threatening the lead runners.



Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza) 2h14m27.9s
Marcus Gronholm (Peugeot 307) 2h14m40.5s
Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara) 2h15m02.2s
Markko Martin (Peugeot 307) 2h16m33.7s
Toni Gardemeister (Ford Focus) 2h17m46.5s
Henning Solberg (Ford Focus) 2h17m49.7s
Harri Rovanpera (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h17m50.6s
Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h18m03.5s
Daniel Carlsson (Peugeot 307) 2h18m16.8s
Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza) 2h18m19.7s



Janne Tuohino (Skoda Fabia) 2h18m27.9s
Roman Kresta (Ford Focus) 2h18m43.2s
Jani Paasonen (Skoda Fabia) 2h18m57.7s
Anthony Warmbold (Ford Focus) 2h20m16.4s
Francois Duval (Citroen Xsara) 2h20m42.4s
Mattias Ekstrom (Skoda Fabia) 2h21m22.1s
Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru Impreza) 2h21m24.2s

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