Sebastien Ogier is currently set for a home victory on Rallye de France with the final day's six stages to go, but is less than ten seconds ahead of Dani Sordo at the end of a second day that saw four lead changes.
Sordo led overnight in his Mini just ahead of Petter Solberg and Ogier, but lost the lead to Solberg when the Norwegian privateer won the second stage of the day, SS10. Solberg then picked up a puncture on the following stage however, dropping him to third and losing 40 seconds. Ogier meanwhile won the stage to leapfrog Sordo into the rally lead.
The Spaniard returned the favour on SS12 though to regain the lead going into midday service, with an advantage of just 0.2s over Ogier.
Ogier was joint fastest with Solberg on the first stage of the repeat loop in the afternoon, enough to move the Citroen driver back into the lead. The Frenchman won three of the final four stages of the day to increase his lead over Sordo to 9.5s.
Solberg is in a lonely third, 42.4s behind Sordo and 44.5s ahead of fourth-placed Jari-Matti Latvala. Kris Meeke had begun the day fourth in the second factory Mini, but lost the place to Ford's Latvala with a spin on SS12. Things got a lot worse on the following stage though for Meeke, crashing heavily and being forced to retire.
Latvala's teammate Hirvonen is fifth, though that will likely become fourth tomorrow when Ford use team orders to get title contender Hirvonen ahead. Dennis Kuipers is a strong sixth in his Fiesta, with Armindo Araujo having lost time to a puncture this morning. The same misfortune befell Mads Ostberg, who is ninth behind M-Sport Stobart teammate Henning Solberg. Frenchman Pierre Campana completes the top ten in his FFSA-backed Mini, seven seconds ahead of Ken Block.
Matthew Wilson continues to struggle for pace in 12th, only 26.3s ahead of comfortable SWRC leader Ott Tanak. Yeray Lemes has won the WRC Academy section, with Craig Breen having crashed out of the lead this morning.
Top ten standings after SS17:
|1.||2||Sebastien Ogier||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||2:42:24.3|
|2.||37||Dani Sordo||Mini||Mini John Cooper Works WRC||+9.5|
|3.||11||Petter Solberg||PSWRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||+51.9|
|4.||4||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+1:36.4|
|5.||3||Mikko Hirvonen||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+3:11.0|
|6.||9||Dennis Kuipers||Ferm||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+5:59.3|
|7.||17||Armindo Araujo||Motorsport Italia||Mini John Cooper Works WRC||+6:08.8|
|8.||15||Henning Solberg||M-Sport Stobart||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+6:25.6|
|9.||6||Mads Ostberg||M-Sport Stobart||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+7:16.4|
|10.||55||Pierre Campana||Equipe de France||Mini John Cooper Works WRC||+7:44.2|