A good day at the office for Giandomenico Basso has seen the Abarth man stretch his advantage over the Peugeot hordes at the halfway point of day two on the 50th Rally Madeira, round seven of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The Italian has performed flawlessly on the island's mountainous roads to claim four successive fastest stage times and build a 16.8-second advantage over Portuguese ace Bruno Magalhaes.
Right behind Magalhaes and keeping pace with him is his big rival for the Portuguese national championship, Alex Camacho. Defending IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz lies fourth in his Benelux-entered Peugeot, while Luca Rossetti has managed to hold on to fifth despite damaging his Abarth's front suspension on SS4 and having to nurse the car through SS5 to service.
Behind the Italian come the battling title contenders Kris Meeke and Freddy Loix in their Peugeots, the Briton just getting back ahead of his Belgian rival before they returned to host city Funchal for servicing.
Behind them a total of four more Peugeots appear in line astern with Miguel Nunes leading Pole Michal Solowow, Corrado Fontana and Madeiran youngster Bernado Sousa, whose flag-waving presence has drawn the biggest cheers on the crowded hillsides.
Former IRC 2WD winner Marco Cavigioli lies 12th in his privately-entered Grande Punto and then Guy Wilks holds 13th spot in the Proton Satria Neo.
In the 2ED Cup it is a one-two for Renault Clio drivers Filipe Freitas and Joao Silva, with IRC regular Manuel Villa's Fiat Punto S1600 in fourth and the unique turbocharged Peugeot 207 of his title rival Denis Millet languishing in 11th.
Of the 69 starters there have been 15 retirements so far, most through mechanical problems but Filipe Silva's Renault Clio and Nuno Barossa Pereira's Subaru crashed out on SS2 and SS3 respectively.
The event continues with eight more stages this evening.