World champion Sebastian Loeb won four of Saturday's eight stages built a lead of 1 minute, 1.4 seconds over Australian Chris Atkinson on the second day of the Rally Mexico.
Loeb, a Frenchman driving for Citroen, won the first two stages to turn a 9.6-second deficit into a 4.6-second lead, and won the next two extend that to 12.9 seconds over first-day leader Jari-Matti Latvala.
Latvala developed a busted pipe on his turbocharger and fell way off the pace, finishing the day in third, 2:06.4 back.
Atkinson, driving for Subaru who was third after the first day, won the final stage of the day to move into second.
"It has been better today, but I don't know why," Loeb said. "For the time being, we'll try to go as fast as possible to keep the lead as long as possible."
Norway's Henning Solberg won two stages and was fourth, 3 minutes, 51.6 seconds behind the Loeb, while Finn Mikko Hirvonen, was next 4 minutes, 7.5 seconds off the leader. Matthew Wilson of Great Britain came sixth at 6 minutes, 10.6 seconds behind.