Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen appear increasingly likely to be racing for their Rally New Zealand finishing positions on Saturday afternoon, after team principal Yves Matton admitted he could well make call regarding team orders at the end of leg two.
The DS3 WRC drivers are 1m26s ahead of their nearest rival Petter Solberg, but Matton is concerned that the Norwegian will be a major threat in the damp conditions predicted for Sunday because he has more soft tires available after using hards instead on Friday morning.
Matton underlined that there would be no decisions taken regarding team strategy on Saturday afternoon.
"Our tire package is still less good than Petter, and we don't want the gap to be coming any less," said Matton. "If we have the same gap tonight, then maybe it will be different, but for the moment I do nothing. I ask the drivers to go as fast as possible, but to keep in mind two cars must be at the finish.
"You never know exactly what time would be enough, but I hope that tonight we have 1m30s [lead on Solberg]. We have some [soft] tires, but they are used already and it's difficult to put a precise number on how much time would be lost against Petter tomorrow."
Solberg went out on his soft tires on Saturday morning - a decision that surprised Matton.
"I thought he would spare the tires for tomorrow," said Matton. "If I was in his position, for sure, I would be saving the new tires for [Sunday] morning. OK, he took 13 seconds this morning, that's not too bad, but I think it still could be better to keep it for tomorrow."
Matton would not be drawn on whether team orders would automatically be in championship leader and established Citroen number one Loeb's favour, or if Hirvonen could guarantee a maiden win in the DS3 by leading at the end of Saturday.
"I did not decide what I will decide tonight," said Matton. "I am working in full transparency with the drivers, like I did in Argentina, and we will see tonight when we have a chat with them."