Sebastien Loeb has pulled clear of the field in Germany after a mighty performance on the epic Arena Panzerplatte stage.
The World Rally Champion had been trading stage wins with his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo early this morning, with the gap between them oscillating between seven and 12 seconds. But on the 48-kilometer Panzerplatte stage around Baumholder's military ranges, Loeb beat Sordo by 12.2sec and second-fastest Petter Solberg by 8.2sec, bringing his overall lead up to 23sec.
Citroen now holds a 1-2-3, with Junior team driver Sebastien Ogier up to third. Jari-Matti Latvala had held the place for Ford, and felt he was driving better than ever on asphalt, until a spin on Panzerplatte dropped him 9s behind Ogier. Mikko Hirvonen remains fifth in the second works Ford.
Petter Solberg has resumed his recovery charge and is now up to seventh. He moved ahead of Matthew Wilson and Kimi Raikkonen this morning, but next target Francois Duval is a minute ahead in sixth.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2h12m08.5s
2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 23.0s
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 1m57.9s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 2m06.8s
5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 2m20.1s
6. Francois Duval Ford + 4m10.1s
7. Petter Solberg Citroen + 5m17.7s
8. Matthew Wilson Ford + 5m41.5s
9. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen + 5m45.2s
10. Ken Block Ford + 9m20.7s