Sebastien Loeb will lead into the final day of the Acropolis Rally after his Citroen teammate Sebastien Ogier dropped time on the night stage that concluded leg two.
Ogier and Loeb had moved ahead of Friday leader Petter Solberg today and then pulled away as the Norwegian ran first on the dusty roads, but the factory drivers knew that leading overnight might not be ideal with slippery stage conditions expected for tomorrow's deciding stages too.
Although Ogier led by 15 seconds going into the after-dark Nea Politia, he came through 17s slower than Loeb to ensure that his teammate has to run first tomorrow. The world champion will start Sunday's stages just 2.2sec ahead of his teammate – who refused to confirm that he had played a tactical game.
"It was very difficult in this stage," said Ogier. "I went flat all the time and it was difficult to drive."
Loeb said the stage conditions had been tough for him as he was second on the road - meaning the surface was still fairly loose and he had to deal with dust from Solberg hanging in the air.
"It was slippery at the start and then dusty," said Loeb. "I thought we would definitely lose some time. But after that it was OK."
Solberg ended the day 20.9sec down on Loeb, and was frustrated with his run through Nea Politia, where he dropped 13sec to Loeb.
"We had a big problem in the stage, so we lost a lot of time," said the Solberg Citroen driver. "We got a little bit lost in the pace notes. That's how it is."
Mikko Hirvonen remains fourth for Ford and is now just 1.5sec behind Solberg and 22.4sec off the lead – and has the best road position of the leaders going into Sunday's five stages.