Jan Kopecky now leads a Skoda one-two-three in the Rally Islas Canarias after Kris Meeke dropped from first to sixth having sustained a puncture
Meeke was pulling away from the field this afternoon until the puncture cost him 1m45s on the 29.9-kilometre Ingenio stage. The Peugeot UK driver suspected that a set-up issue rather than an impact had caused the puncture, and reckoned it could have been an issue the team had already suffered on a previous rally and had believed it had rectified.
With Meeke delayed, Kopecky was able to move into a 13.4-second lead over his factory Skoda team-mate Juho Hanninen, who he had pulled clear of by winning Ingenio, which turned out to be the final stage of the leg as SS9 was cancelled due to spectator overcrowding.
Guy Wilks is up to third for Skoda UK - and feeling much more confident after further set-up changes - with Bruno Magalhaes now Peugeot's lead runner in fourth, ahead of Alberto Hevia and Meeke.
There were more dramas further back, as both Meeke's new team-mate Thierry Neuville and Interwetten Peugeot driver Franz Wittmann also picked up punctures. That put Spanish champion Sergio Vallejo into seventh, despite receiving a two-minute penalty for being late out of service following transmission attention to his Ford.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Jan Kopecky Skoda 1h20m25.0s 2. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 13.4s 3. Guy Wilks Skoda + 31.4s 4. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot + 49.3s 5. Alberto Hevia Skoda + 1m17.4s 6. Kris Meeke Peugeot + 1m28.0s 7. Sergio Vallejo Ford + 3m35.6s 8. Thierry Neuville Peugeot + 3m40.9s 9. Ruben Gracia Mitsubishi + 5m51.5s 10. Jose Suarez Mitsubishi + 5m55.8s
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season