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ERC NEWS 

Croatia ERC: Andreas Aigner takes shock lead

Andreas Aigner

Andreas Aigner holds a shock lead in the European Rally Championship's Croatia Rally after a weather-affected start to the first full day.

Thursday's sunshine gave way to surprise rainfall before the start of the first stage, and championship leader Jan Kopecky was caught out on inappropriate hard tyres.

As the works Skoda driver struggled for confidence, losing half a minute and falling to sixth, Production class runner Aigner put his Manfred Stohl-run Subaru into the outright lead.

Herrmann Gassner Jr, like Aigner a former Red Bull protege, made it two Production cars in the top two in his Mitsubishi.

Aigner was quickest again on stage three, but as the weather improved on stage four, Kopecky was able to get up to full speed and immediately took 18 seconds out of Aigner.

That reduced the Austrian's lead to just 10s, and moved Kopecky up to second, ahead of Gassner.

Superspecial pacesetter Juraj Sebalj is now back in seventh place.

Impressive South African teenager Henk Lategan - who starred with second place overnight on one of his first ever asphalt rallies - had two spins on SS2 and is now fifth.

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