Storming Saturday for Petter

Four stages, four fastest times. Petter Solberg increased the pressure on title rival Sebastien Loeb on the second morning of Wales Rally GB today (Saturday), stretching his lead in the event to 24.7s

Storming Saturday for Petter

SS10 and 11 saw the WRC stars go through the Chrychan and Halfway stages for the second time this morning. The results proved similar to the first running, with Solberg proving unstoppable on both stages. He outpaced Loeb by 5.6s on SS10 and another 4.4s on SS11, and heads back to service with an increasingly comfortable lead.

Despite this, however, Solberg wasn't entirely happy. "I had no problems, but it was very, very slippery," he said. "It was just so difficult. We should have gone for softer tyres this morning."

Loeb insisted that the time he lost was due to his bad tyre choice, and not any orders from Citroen to back off. "I was pushing hard," he said, "but our tyre choice was too hard. I tried to push but it was impossible. I think for the next stage I will pick a different tyre."

Almost as compelling as the battle for the lead and the title is the battle for third between two departing legends of the WRC. Colin McRae once again outpaced Tommi Makinen on Chrychan, setting the second fastest time overall.

However, any thoughts the Scot had of snatching third overall were repelled by Makinen on Halfway. The Finn stormed through the stage 3.2s faster than McRae, increasing his lead over the Scot to 11.8s.

"That was very good," said Makinen. "Good fun. I've been enjoying myself."

Harri Rovanpera runs a lonely fifth, nearly 1m30s down on the battle for third and just over 1 minute ahead of Francois Duval. The young Ford star is doing his best to make a charge for the position, however, outpacing Rovanpera on both SS10 and 11.

Freddy Loix overhauled privateer Roman Kresta to claim seventh on SS10, and continues to put in a solid, if unspectacular, performance in his first event for Peugeot. Czech driver Kresta then dropped another position to fellow 206 WRC runner Manfred Stohl on SS11.

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