Hanninen jumps into narrow lead
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, April 16th 2011, 08:43 GMT|
Reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Juho Hanninen leads Skoda team-mate Jan Kopecky by just 0.1 seconds with two stages of a thrilling Rally Islas Canarias remaining.
Thierry Neuville and Freddy Loix are also still in contention after the first loop of two Saturday stages.
Neuville briefly took first position on SS9 San Mateo (by 0.9s), as Kronos' young Belgian continued to show the best form of his career so far. But he slipped back to 4.6s off the lead with a slower time on the following Artenara stage.
"I used the tyres too much on the first stage and I had no more grip on this stage and I was sliding," Neuville explained.
Hanninen had been lurking on the edge of the lead fight throughout the event so far, and winning SS10 allowed him to jump past Neuville and day one leader Kopecky into first place by a tiny margin.
"Maybe sometimes I've been pushing a little bit too much," said Hanninen. "This is going to be quite interesting..."
Loix is still fourth, 7.2s behind Hanninen.
Guy Wilks has found more pace in the Peugeot UK car this morning to progress to fifth, ahead of Skoda UK's Andreas Mikkelsen. Bryan Bouffier is struggling to match their speed in the Peugeot France car and is now seventh.
Leading positions after SS10: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Juho Hanninen Skoda 1h18m23.3s 2. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 0.1s 3. Thierry Neuville Kronos/Peugeot Belux + 4.6s 4. Freddy Loix BFO Skoda + 7.2s 5. Guy Wilks Kronos/Peugeot UK + 39.3s 6. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 40.4s 7. Bryan Bouffier PH/Peugeot France + 48.5s 8. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot Portugal + 1m27.3s 9. Giandomenico Basso Proton + 2m02.3s 10. Toni Gardemeister TGS Skoda + 2m04.5s