Spaniard Dani Sordo, driving a Banbury-built Mini John Cooper Works WRC, is still battling for second place after the second day of the Monte Carlo Rally.

The team’s French crew, Pierre Campana and Sabrina de Castelli, were still in seventh after a trouble free day.

In his Mini John Cooper Works WRC number 37, the same number carried by the Monte Carlo Rally-winning Mini Cooper ‘S’ in 1964, Sordo started the day in second.

On the first stage – the fifth of the rally – he dropped to third behind Petter Solberg, then on stage six he moved back in front of the Norwegian, only to lose the position again on the final stage of the morning.

In the afternoon the battle continued and on stage eight Sordo set the fastest overall time, his first of the rally.

However, it was not until the final stage of the day that he reclaimed his second spot and moved ahead of Solberg by 3.7secs.

Campana was driving steadily in the tricky conditions, but it was on the final stage today that he was able to move up to seventh after Sébastien Ogier crashed and Ott Tanak stalled on the start-line of the stage.

It was again a day when the team’s choice of which Michelin tyres to use was crucial.

The two Mini John Cooper Works WRCs started the day with four super softs and two softs as spares. Then in the afternoon both cars were shod with four soft tyres.

The weather was dry with any frost on the stages run the first time round disappearing for the second loop.

owever, the forecast for where the Friday morning stages are being run is for overnight rain turning to snow on higher ground, so again the tyre choices will be important.

Team principal Dave Wilcock said: “It has been a good steady day. For the morning loop we had a slightly different tyre choice to that of Petter (Solberg), who we were really competing with as Sébastien (Loeb) was a minute in front. We were interested to see how that would pan out, but by the end of the morning loop we found there was not much in it.

"The tyres for the second loop were a simple choice as it was damp but with drying conditions, so for that reason it wasn’t very complex. We made some set-up changes at lunch time for Dani, which suited him as on stage eight he set the fastest time and this picked up his motivation.

"Petter, for some reason whether it was tactical or genuine, dropped a couple of seconds to Dani in the final stage of the day and it put us back in the same order we started.

"There were a few casualties later on this afternoon, so Pierre has jumped from ninth to seventh and we are very pleased to have the two cars in these positions with two thirds of the distance completed."