Jan Kopecky holds a 5.7-second lead over the extremely impressive Thierry Neuville going into the final day of Rally Islas Canarias
Tonight should have seen two stages run in darkness, but the volume of spectators on SS8 Tejada was declared unsafe and the stage was cancelled, meaning SS7 Valleseco was the extent of the evening's action.
Kopecky (Skoda) was fastest on the stage, allowing him to slightly extend his lead as fellow works Skoda driver Freddy Loix slipped back from second to fourth.
In his best Intercontinental Rally Challenge performance yet, Neuville remains right with Kopecky in the Kronos-run Belgium Luxembourg Peugeot, 5.7s off the lead and 3s ahead of reigning champion Juho Hanninen (Skoda) and Loix.
There was also a change in the battle for fifth on SS7, as Andreas Mikkelsen moved up to fifth for Skoda UK, ahead of Monte Carlo winner Bryan Bouffier's PH Sport-run Peugeot France car and Peugeot UK's Guy Wilks.
The rally concludes on Saturday morning with two runs through a further pair of stages.
Leading positions after SS7:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jan Kopecky Skoda 55m56.3s 2. Thierry Neuville Kronos/Peugeot Belux + 5.7s 3. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 8.6s 4. Freddy Loix BFO Skoda + 9.0s 5. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 37.6s 6. Bryan Bouffier PH/Peugeot France + 38.6s 7. Guy Wilks Kronos/Peugeot UK + 40.7s 8. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot Portugal + 1m03.8s 9. Giandomenico Basso Proton + 1m31.7s 10. Toni Gardemeister TGS Skoda + 1m40.3s
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