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ERC NEWS 

Mikkelsen opens narrow gap over Kopecky after first three stages in Spain

Andreas Mikkelsen IRC Rally Islas CanariasAndreas Mikkelsen opened up a narrow lead over Jan Kopecky during the first three stages of Rally Islas Canarias - round two of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Although Mikkelsen (Skoda UK) had been sceptical about his chances of taking a fourth straight IRC victory as he has never won on asphalt so far, he was fractionally quickest on every stage so far this morning and pulled out a 3.6-second lead over Skoda Motorsport's Kopecky.

As expected, the two factory Skoda drivers have left the rest of the field trailing in their wake.

Event promoter Luis Monzon holds an impressive third place in his Peugeot 207, just ahead of the Red Bull Skoda of Hermann Gassner Jr, while Alberto Hevia and Sepp Wiegand are battling for fifth in another pair of Skoda Fabias.

Leading positions after SS3:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car              Time/Gap
 1.  Andreas Mikkelsen   Skoda UK              28m23.2s
 2.  Jan Kopecky         Skoda                   + 3.6s
 3.  Luis Monzon         Canarias Peugeot       + 31.1s
 4.  Hermann Gassner Jr  Red Bull Skoda         + 37.6s
 5.  Alberto Hevia       AMP Classic Skoda      + 46.1s
 6.  Sepp Wiegand        Skoda Deutschland      + 47.3s
 7.  Jonathan Perez      AMP Classic Peugeot  + 1m16.2s
 8.  Joan Vinyes         Suzuki Iberica       + 1m40.6s
 9.  Oleksii Tamrazov    Ukraine Ford         + 1m41.5s
10.  Gorka Antxustegi    Suzuki Iberica       + 1m57.5s
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