Andreas Mikkelsen leads in Scotland as Juho Hanninen closes
|Sunday, October 9th 2011, 10:55 GMT|
Andreas Mikkelsen continues to lead the Rally of Scotland, but his advantage over Juho Hanninen is down to under half a minute.
Skoda UK's Mikkelsen had begun the day 50 seconds clear of the field.
Reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Hanninen won today's opening stage in his Skoda, but Mikkelsen was slightly quicker on SS10.
But on the 25-kilometre High Corrie stage, Hanninen set a dominant pace and slashed Mikkelsen's lead to 28.3s, as the Norwegian drove cautiously in the treacherous conditions and had to cope with a puncture through the latter part of the stage.
Having lost second to Haninnen at the start of the day, Bryan Bouffier is now a lonely third for Peugeot France.
While Hanninen closes on the lead, his Skoda team-mate Jan Kopecky's rally has been getting better and better this morning. The championship leader has lacked pace all weekend, but has benefited from rivals' problems.
First title contender Thierry Neuville dropped from fourth to eighth when he spun into a ditch on Loch Chon, and broke his Kronos Peugeot's reverse gear again in the process.
Skoda Sweden's Patrik Sandell was quickest on that stage and would have taken Neuville's fourth place, only to hit a rock as he approached the finish and sustain terminal suspension damage.
Kopecky therefore moved from seventh to fifth, and fourth-placed Craig Breen is now reporting that his Kel-Tech Ford keeps dropping onto three cylinders.
Further back, P-G Andersson was set to move back into the top 10 despite his Proton's throttle sticking, but he came to a halt on High Corrie.
Also in trouble is British and Scottish champion David Bogie. Though still ninth in the results, he has had to park his Mitsubishi on the road to remote service having sustained severe suspension damage on SS11.
Leading positions after SS11: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK 1h27m45.1s 2. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 28.3s 3. Bryan Bouffier PH/Peugeot France + 49.6s 4. Craig Breen Kel-Tech Ford + 1m38.5s 5. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 1m53.4s 6. Jarkko Nikara Mitsubishi (private) + 2m19.7s 7. Toni Gardemeister TGS Skoda + 2m35.8s 8. Thierry Neuville Kronos/Peugeot Belux + 2m55.1s 9. David Bogie Mitsubishi (private) + 3m21.6s 10. Alastair Fisher M-Sport Ford + 4m53.1s