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ERC NEWS 

Hanninen closing on Scotland victory

Juho Hanninen, Skoda, Scotland 2010Juho Hanninen is maintaining a 13-second lead over Andreas Mikkelsen with just two stages of the Rally of Scotland to go.

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion has done enough to keep the chasing Hankook Ford at bay in drizzly conditions this morning, and only has to complete the repeat runs through the Clashmore and Loch Ard stages to clinch another win for Skoda.

Kris Meeke did not have to wait long to reclaim third place from his Kronos Peugeot team-mate Thierry Neuville, who was delayed by a puncture on today's first stage, and then crashed out at the final corner of the second stage.

Meeke ended Loch Ard concerned about a possible exhaust problem causing a heat build-up in his Peugeot 207, but now only has to cruise through the last loop to claim a farewell podium.

The high rate of attrition has continued today, with Proton's lead runner Tom Cave losing 12 minutes - and his superb fifth place - due to a trip off the road and a double puncture on Loch Ard.

Sixth-placed Euan Thorburn also crashed out on Loch Ard, and his and Neuville's accidents plus Cave's delay mean that new Group N leader Jonathan Greer is up to fourth place overall.

Skoda UK's Guy Wilks and Proton's Keith Cronin and Alister McRae all rejoined for the last leg following their retirements yesterday, although under the event's regulations they are no longer classified in the overall positions. Wilks showed his pace by winning both stages this morning, although Cronin's return did not last long - the Proton stopping on Clashmore.

Pos  Driver             Car           Time/Gap
 1.  Juho Hanninen      Skoda       1h32m03.5s
 2.  Andreas Mikkelsen  Ford           + 13.1s
 3.  Kris Meeke         Peugeot      + 1m41.7s
 4.  Jonathan Greer     Mitsubishi   + 7m07.9s
 5.  David Bogie        Mitsubishi   + 9m30.8s
 6.  Siim Plangi        Honda       + 11m26.2s
 7.  Eamonn Boland      Mitsubishi  + 12m40.3s
 8.  Burcu Cetinkaya    Peugeot     + 12m43.7s
 9.  Tom Cave           Proton      + 16m01.0s
10.  Harry Hunt         Ford        + 16m30.1s
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