18 May 08
Loeb pulled out all the stops on Sunday’s second test, setting the fastest time and edging another four seconds ahead of Hirvonen.
“That was flat out,” said Loeb. “Before the stage I thought to myself okay, now we are not leading, we have to push, brake late and go as fast as possible. The road was less slippery than the first one (SS13) and we found a bit more grip. We’ll have to see whether the stages ahead will give us as much grip - I’m not sure how much cleaning we’ll have to do.”
Hirvonen said a small mistake near the stage start had led to his slower time. “I couldn’t push as hard as I did on the first one,” he said. “About 2km from the start I went off line and hit a rock - I thought I had a puncture. Even though it turned out to be okay I didn’t want to take more risks so I backed off. There are three more stages to go. I think I’ve got one more chance to catch him!”
Latvala was third fastest but thought he’d been too cautious on the opening stages. “Mikko has been going very well but, I don’t know, I think I’m playing a bit safe,” said Latvala. “In my mind I’m thinking a bit about what happened in Jordan, and not taking risks where I should. Let’s see. I may have dropped this game a little bit now but we have to keep going.”
Gigi Galli conceded a couple of seconds to Dani Sordo in the battle for fourth place, but the Italian maintained a 13 second advantage at the stage end. “It’s okay, but not enough time to relax, said Galli. “One mistake and we can lose everything so I must stay focused.”
Sordo, however, said he hadn’t given up hope of catching Galli. “Of course everything is possible,” he said. “The car feels good. There’s not a lot of traction, but we’ll see.”
The only change to the top-10 came at the bottom end, after Petter Solberg dropped around 1min 40sec and slipped to 12th, promoting Matthew Wilson to tenth. Solberg declined to comment on the problem at the finish. “Everything is perfect” he said.