The Citroens of Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier continue to hold the advantage early on day two of Rally Finland.
Despite running first on the road, the French duo have been able to hang on ahead of Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala. After SS6, Loeb is 2.8sec ahead of his teammate, with Latvala a further 6.6sec adrift.
Loeb said running first on the road was not proving as tough in Finland as on many other rallies, but that he was still having to do his utmost to retain his edge.
"We are pushing very hard," he said. "I am on the limit everywhere. I cannot do more."
Ogier reckoned Loeb's speed was due to a mixture of road conditions being better than feared and the World Champion driving exceptionally well.
"Today [running first] is not such a disadvantage so I am not surprised," said Ogier. "We are never surprised at the time of Seb – he's very strong."
Latvala has so far not been able to close on the Citroens but was encouraged to match their times on SS6.
"Finally my times are improving so I just need to keep getting better now," said the 2010 Finland winner. "It was never easy last year, but it seems to be harder now."
Early leader Jari Ketomaa has dropped back to fifth behind Petter Solberg's Citroen. The Stobart Ford of Mads Ostberg completes the top six, just ahead of Mini duo Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke.
After his Thursday delay, Ford's Mikko Hirvonen has been setting a superb pace this morning, winning all three stages and bringing the gap to the lead down from just over two minutes to 1m46s.
Leading positions after SS6:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 50m57.1s
2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 2.8s
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 9.4s
4. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 27.4s
5. Jari Ketomaa HJ-Autotalo Ford + 44.5s
6. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 54.0s
7. Dani Sordo Mini + 58.6s
8. Kris Meeke Mini + 1m06.6s
9. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda + 1m08.5s
10. Ott Tanak MM Ford + 1m14.7s