Jari-Matti Latvala has charged away from the field on the final morning of the Rally Sardinia as dust caused huge visibility problems for those behind him.
All weekend drivers have been anxious to avoid running first on the road because they feared losing time on the loose gravel that the cars early in the running order would have to sweep away.
But this morning the situation turned around and first man on the road Latvala suddenly had the advantage as the dust kicked up by his Ford Focus hung in the still morning air, severely hampering his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen. The two Finns had started the leg just 9.9 seconds apart - but that gap ballooned to 32.3s after just two stages today.
"I got the advantage on the first one," said Latvala, who had been 18s quicker than Hirvonen on SS13. "At the end of [SS14] I was a bit more steady because of the rocks and I didn't want to hit anything. Now I'm concentrating on looking after the car and the tyres because the advantage is still quite big as I managed to do it on the first stage."
Hirvonen said he was not even trying to battle with Latvala given the dust.
"It was not as bad as in the morning, but just by driving I can't catch him so in the dust I didn't risk it at all," he said. "I just slowed down and came through really slowly. You can't fight in these conditions."
The dust problem has also meant that Sebastien Loeb's anticipated move past Petter Solberg into third place did not happen on this loop. Loeb closed to within 0.1s of Solberg on SS13, but the private Citroen Xsara pulled away a little from the factory C4 on the next stage, despite a mistake by Solberg.
"I had a half spin in the last hairpin before the finish so I'm sure I lost a little there," said the Norwegian. "It's so dusty, I think it's getting worse and worse."
Loeb said he did not want to throw away any points by pushing too hard to move up a position.
"It's really tricky," he said. "I will fight with Petter, but in the dust it's difficult to make a difference unless you take big risks, and I don't want to do that."
Evgeny Novikov is now driving conservatively towards a superb fifth place for Citroen Junior, with Matthew Wilson (Stobart Ford) and Khalid Al Qassimi (Ford) settled into sixth and seventh positions.
The turbo problems that ruined Dani Sordo's rally yesterday continued to plague the Citroen this morning. Mads Ostberg (Adapta Subaru) has therefore moved up to eighth, and with Sordo now running out of order rather than just ahead of him, the Norwegian has less of an issue with dust than any other driver. That has helped him to set top three stages times on both of this morning's stages so far.Leading positions after SS14:
Pos Driver Car Time
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 3h26m48.9s
2. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 32.3s
3. Petter Solberg Citroen + 2m04.1s
4. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 2m06.4s
5. Evgeny Novikov Citroen + 4m37.4s
6. Matthew Wilson Ford + 6m51.7s
7. Khalid Al Qassimi Ford + 8m29.7s
8. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 13m11.2s
9. Henning Solberg Ford + 13m43.1s
10. Patrik Sandell Skoda + 17m38.5s