Sebastien Ogier has admitted he has to consider a tactical approach to the final day of Rally Japan as he continues to lead Citroen's attack on the Sapporo-based event.
Ogier returned to the stages second overall and just 1.6 seconds behind leader Jari-Matti Latvala this afternoon. Crucially, the Frenchman is running third on the road behind Latvala and day one leader Petter Solberg.
"It's important not to be first on the road tomorrow," said Ogier. "We have to think about that, we need to be in a good position for the final day. If you do want to be first on the road tomorrow, you need to be 30 seconds in the lead and that's not going to happen."
Solberg's 10sec jump-start penalty has closed the front of the field right up, with sixth-placed Sebastien Loeb now just 30sec off the front. The six-time world champion is in the best place on the road to take full advantage of any tactical approach; whatever the crews ahead of him chose to do, Loeb can better them.
Ford of Europe senior motorsport manager Gerard Quinn talked down to likelihood of a tactical approach from his team.
"We have to wait and see what happens this afternoon," said Quinn. "We're not planning for tactics, as a team we're pretty strongly against it and we've been down this road before. Admittedly, Mikko [Hirvonen] is in a strong position to play tactics from fourth on the road, but it's a big risk to tell a driver to slow down.
"I prefer to focus on the incredible competition at the front of the field again; it shows how competitive the WRC is that, halfway through a rally, a 10sec penalty drops Petter to third with Mikko in fourth just 1.6 seconds behind."