ERC Cyprus Rally: Kajetanowicz flies but trouble for Breen

Kajetan Kajetanowicz completed the opening leg of the European Rally Championship's return to Cyprus with an against-the-odds 3.8-second lead, while Craig Breen endured a day full of frustration

ERC Cyprus Rally: Kajetanowicz flies but trouble for Breen

Multiple Polish champion Kajetanowicz began the day 42.8s behind overnight leader Yazeed Al-Rajhi after he hit a block of hay and damaged his steering on Friday's opening stage.

Kajetanowicz then experienced intermittent power steering issues through the first loop of Saturday's stages, before being hit with a one-minute time penalty for early arrival at the time control at the third test, which he won despite finishing with a deflated front tyre.

That penalty was removed after the interval, but a 10s one was applied due to the M-Sport Poland driver leaving service in Nicosia late before the start of the day.

Despite those issues, Kajetanowicz won five of the day's eight stages and moved ahead of erstwhile leader Al-Rajhi on the final Klavdia test.

Watch ERC Cyprus highlights videos on the AUTOSPORT rallying page

World Rally Championship regular Al-Rajhi has a 24.6s advantage over third-placed Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, who has been in the mix all day long.

Khalid Al Qassimi was leading after winning the first stage of the day, but he dropped down to fourth when he spun on the fourth test, before his Citroen DS3 RRC experienced a temporary loss of power.

He is 37.0s ahead of three-time Portuguese champion Bruno Magalhaes, while title-chaser Breen is managing to cling on to sixth despite experiencing myriad issues.

The Acropolis Rally-winning Irishman was hamstrung by a pop-off valve issue in his Sainteloc Peugeot 208 T16, caused by the area's high ambient temperatures.

The problem starved his car of vital power and Breen had to complete several stages in road mode.

A puncture and a 360-degree spin on the opening stage did not help matters either and he also received a 1m20s penalty after he started stage five behind schedule.

He starts the final day 2m42.1s behind rally leader Kajetanowicz.

Three-time event winner Nasser Al-Attiyah's weekend went from bad to worse when he came to a halt en route to the first stage of the day.

The Qatari (pictured) was due to run at the head of the field after an ECU issue meant he finished well off the pace on the qualifying stage on Thursday.

Al-Attiyah completed Friday night's superspecial stage with high oil and engine temperatures, but the damage caused by the overheating prevented his Ford from starting on Saturday.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS9:

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Series ERC
Drivers Craig Breen
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