Jan Kopecky will take a half-minute advantage into the final day of the Rally Zlin, but the fight over the other podium places remains extremely close
Amid changeable weather that made tyre choices tricky, Skoda driver Kopecky has maintained a 20 to 30 second lead all day on his home rally.
In his wake, his team-mate Freddy Loix has now moved up to second following an SS9 win that gained him three places - so close was the battle in Kopecky's wake.
An error on the last stage by Bryan Bouffier helped Loix up to second, although the Peugeot is only 0.2s behind, and 6.7s ahead of Juho Hanninen in the other works Skoda.
Kris Meeke had been in the thick of this group until a series of moments, an incorrect tyre choice and a loss of confidence on the day's final stage saw him slip back in fifth place.
After his brush with a deer this morning, a differential problem has hampered Guy Wilks this afternoon, but he has got back up to ninth for Skoda UK.
Proton's promising run has come to an end, though, with British champion Keith Cronin going off the road on the penultimate stage of the day. He had been running 14th on his debut in the car. Cronin's team-mate Niall McShea also retired from 21st on the next stage.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Jan Kopecky Skoda 1h22m12.7s 2. Freddy Loix Skoda + 28.2s 3. Bryan Bouffier Peugeot + 28.5s 4. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 35.2s 5. Kris Meeke Peugeot + 49.7s 6. Vaclav Pech Mitsubishi + 1m44.3s 7. Pavel Valousek Skoda + 1m55.2s 8. Andreas Mikkelsen Ford + 2m09.6s 9. Guy Wilks Skoda + 2m52.5s 10. Roman Odlozilik Skoda + 3m25.0s
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