Hanninen closing on Scotland victory
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, October 17th 2010, 09:53 GMT|
Juho 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