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Ypres ERC: Freddy Loix establishes early lead over Craig Breen

Freddy Loix ERC 2013Freddy Loix established an early lead on his European Rally Championship return in Ypres.

Drizzle made conditions very slippery on the first three stages of the classic Belgian rally, and seven-time winner Loix - driving a factory-assisted Skoda - coped better than his rivals.

ERC frontrunner Craig Breen is doing a respectable job of keeping the local hero in sight.

Apart from SS2, where Loix pulled out 10s, Breen has been within a few seconds of the Belgian's pace on every stage. The gap between them heading to service is 15.7 seconds.

They have stormed away from the rest of the field.

Bryan Bouffier, winner of the last ERC round in Corsica, is already nearly a minute behind in third.

Hayden Paddon is a further 24s back in fourth. On his top-level rallying return, the 2011 Production World Rally title-winner has found the conditions unpleasant so far.

Leading positions after SS3:

Pos  Driver             Team/Car             Time/Gap
 1.  Freddy Loix        Skoda                29m18.0s
 2.  Craig Breen        Sainteloc Peugeot      +15.7s
 3.  Bryan Bouffier     Delta Peugeot          +57.1s
 4.  Hayden Paddon      Symtech Ford         +1m21.4s
 5.  Michal Solowow     Cersanit Ford        +1m39.7s
 6.  Davy Vanneste      Duindistel Peugeot   +1m58.0s
 7.  Hermen Kobus       Ford                 +2m00.1s
 8.  Andreas Aigner     Stohl Subaru         +2m02.9s
 9.  Andy Lefevere      Atlantic Mitsubishi  +2m12.5s
10.  Melissa Debackere  Duindistel Peugeot   +2m34.6s
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