Sebastien Loeb is closing on the ninth Rally Germany victory of his World Rally Championship career after a trouble-free run through leg two.
After the chaos of the morning left Loeb over a minute and a half clear, the Citroen driver has taken it relatively easy. He heads into Sunday's decisive three stages 1m42.9s ahead of Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala, who is keeping Loeb's resurgent teammate Mikko Hirvonen a comfortable half-minute behind.
The big news of Saturday afternoon was Ott Tanak's performance and retirement. The Ford protege stormed through SS10 and SS11 to take the first asphalt stage wins of his WRC career, grabbing fourth from Mads Ostberg in the process. But Tanak then crashed out on the famously tough Panzerplatte stage that concluded the day.
Dani Sordo also stopped on Panzerplatte after damaging his Prodrive-run Mini. He had been running sixth.
Mini still has a representative in the top five, as Tanak and Sordo's disasters moved Chris Atkinson into fifth on his first outing for Motorsport Italia. The rest of the order remains unclear as Peter van Merksteijn Jr. rolled his Citroen near Tanak's incident. The Dutch driver was unhurt but his car blocked the course and stopped the stage.
Leading positions after SS12:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2h58m51.8s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m42.9s
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 2m12.7s
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 3m07.8s
5. Chris Atkinson Italia Mini + 6m59.0s
6. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 8m10.6s
7. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Skoda + 10m20.4s
8. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar Citroen + 10m52.0s
9. Mathieu Arzeno Sainteloc Peugeot + 13m03.5s
10. Sepp Wiegand VW Skoda + 13m31.3s