Juho Hanninen moved back into the Intercontinental Rally Challenge points lead by winning Rally Azores.
The reigning champion was kept on his toes by fellow Skoda driver Andreas Mikkelsen, as the Norwegian produced his strongest performance of the season to nose ahead of Hanninen on a couple of occasions.
The battle went on until SS14, when a blistering stage win for Hanninen in tricky conditions took him out of reach, after which Mikkelsen backed right off to settle for second.
Jan Kopecky completed an all-Skoda podium in third.
Bryan Bouffier was top Peugeot in fourth, having lost time running first on the road and due to his lack of experience on the stages. Guy Wilks crashed the Peugeot UK entry on Friday morning, while Bruno Magalhaes (Peugeot Portugal) was fending off Kopecky for third until a transmission problem stopped him earlier this afternoon.
Leading finishers after SS17: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Juho Hanninen Skoda 2h19m03.8s 2. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 42.3s 3. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 1m46.0s 4. Bryan Bouffier ROMO Peugeot + 3m36.2s 5. Patrik Sandell Skoda Sweden + 4m33.3s 6. Ricardo Moura Mitsubishi (private) + 6m07.0s 7. Vitor Lopes Subaru (private) + 9m52.1s 8. Vitor Pascoal Mitsubishi (private) + 12m47.3s 9. Sergio Silva Subaru (private) + 14m00.3s 10. Paulo Maciel Citroen (private) + 18m10.7s
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