Sebastien Ogier will go into day three of Rally Poland with a slender lead of just 0.9 seconds over Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.
With the Lithuanian stages being cancelled, due to cut up roads, Ogier and Mikkelsen only had seven stages to battle it out.
The VW-duo traded places for the lead no fewer than four times. Ogier left it till the final Mikolajki stage to reclaim the lead from Mikkelsen, who was 1.0s ahead of Ogier after the Weliczki stage.
“I’m really enjoying driving on the stages today,” said Mikkelsen. “The feeling is great. If the same feeling is there tomorrow, we will try to keep the pressure on.”
Ogier took advantage of what is usually a disadvantage for the championship leader; road position. On damp stages Ogier benefited from the road cutting up.
“When I saw the damp stage, I knew it would be good for me. I could go fast without taking any risks in the forests.”
Behind the two VW’s was the Citroen of Mads Ostberg. He also benefited from running ahead of others. Ostberg currently sits 12.5s ahead of Jarri-Matti Latvala, who ended day one eighth.
Kris Meeke fell to fifth after a tough day. Meeke lost a lot of time due to the deteriorating surface on a number of stages.
“It’s frustrating when there’s nothing you can do with the ruts,” said a despondent Meeke. “They must be a foot deep after only seven cars. It’s terrible.”
Meeke is currently only 8.0s behind the VW of Latvala and 6.8s ahead of the consistent Juho Hanninen.
M-Sport had a much more positive second day. Mikko Hirvonen, Robert Kubica and Elfyn Evans occupied seventh, eighth and ninth places respectively heading into day three.
The trio are separated by less than 20 seconds, with the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville hanging on in tenth, 1.4s behind Evans after brake issues caused the left-rear caliper to catch fire.
Stage times can be found here: http://www.wrc.com/en/wrc/results/live/stage-times/page/60-294-59–.html