Sebastien Ogier is now 11.3 seconds ahead of Sebastien Loeb as the Citroens continue to battle for Rally Mexico victory.
Loeb's 50-second penalty for being five minutes late onto the Ibarrilla stage after having to stop and repair a gearbox problem put him 24.1s behind new leader Ogier.
It then looked like Loeb would soon be right back on his team-mate's tail as he took 13.7sec out of Ogier's advantage on the following Duarte stage. But this proved to be down to a brief loss of power on Ogier's car, and when this problem cleared on Derramadero, it was the younger Frenchman who was faster, while Loeb lost a little ground as he stalled at a hairpin while grappling with a handbrake issue. They head for tonight's two runs through the Guanajuato superspecial 11.3s apart.
The works Fords of Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala remain lonely in third and fourth places, with Latvala feeling his driving had improved on this loop and giving Ford its first stage win of the weekend on Derramadero.
Henning Solberg's power steering problems returned this afternoon, and became so severe that the Stobart Ford driver pondered retiring after the first stage of the loop. He persevered, but fell from fifth to seventh.
Despite a broken gear lever, his Citroen refusing to start before Derramadero and then a wild moment over a jump, Petter Solberg has moved into fifth place – taking two stage wins along the way – with Mads Ostberg now Stobart Ford's lead runner in sixth.
Leading positions after SS17:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 3h09m36.4s
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 11.3s
3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 1m28.1s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 2m41.4s
5. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 6m51.3s
6. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 8m05.7s
7. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 8m38.6s
8. Nasser Al-Attiyah Barwa Ford + 10m43.5s
9. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 11m20.3s
10. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda + 11m51.5s