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ERC NEWS 

IRC Bulgaria: Dimitar Iliev leads as local drivers dominate

Dimitar IllievDimitar Iliev leads Rally Sliven by 11.7 seconds after the first full day, as local drivers dominate Bulgaria's round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

For the second rally in a row, the usual frontrunners are absent, with the only IRC regulars in attendance being those from the lower classes.

Skoda driver Iliev led throughout Saturday's eight stages, holding countryman Petar Gyoshev at bay. The latter only made it out in the morning after a rapid service park repair having damaged his Peugeot on Friday night's superspecial.

Todor Slavov holds a remarkable third overall in his 2WD Cup Renault Clio R3, fending off Yalta winner Yagiz Avci's S2000 Ford.

Four-time Sliven winner Krum Donchew was delayed by a mistake on Friday night and a puncture on Saturday morning, but has recovered to fifth and is gaining on Slavov and Avci.

Eurosport and the FIA announced on Friday that the IRC will cease running after 2012, as the television firm instead takes on the running of the European Rally Championship.

Leading positions after SS9:

Pos  Driver            Car           Time/Gap
 1.  Dimitar Iliev     Skoda       1h12m58.7s
 2.  Petar Gyoshev     Peugeot        + 11.7s
 3.  Todor Slavov      Renault      + 2m24.9s
 4.  Yagiz Avci        Ford         + 2m34.6s
 5.  Krum Donchev      Peugeot      + 2m50.3s
 6.  Menyhert Krozser  Renault      + 4m18.3s
 7.  Martin Kangur     Honda        + 5m26.9s
 8.  Georgi Vasilev    Mitsubishi   + 6m37.4s
 9.  Murat Bostanci    Ford         + 6m57.7s
10.  Robert Consani    Renault      + 7m29.1s
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