Sebastien Loeb continues to lead Rally New Zealand halfway through leg two, but cannot shake off Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.
On Saturday's first two stages it looked like Loeb would quickly put the rally beyond Hirvonen's reach, as the reigning World Rally champion rapidly established an eight-second lead. But on the muddy surface of SS11, the distinctively named Girls High School, Hirvonen was able to carve back into Loeb's lead and get the gap down to 1.7sec heading for service.
Petter Solberg was fastest on two of the morning's three stages, and that helped move the factory Ford past M-Sport Ford driver Evgeny Novikov into third place. Novikov's M-Sport teammate Ott Tanak is now eyeing the Russian's fourth. Thierry Neuville (Qatar Citroen) and Dani Sordo (Prodrive Mini) remain sixth and seventh.
In the second works Ford, Jari-Matti Latvala has recovered to eighth following his Friday mistake, but is now two minutes adrift of next target Sordo.
Behind Latvala, a damper problem has dropped Armindo Araujo's Motorsport Italia-run Mini away from Latvala and closer to Ken Block (Monster Ford), who has now escaped from series returnee Manfred Stohl's Brazil Ford.