Martin Prokop has taken the lead of the Cyprus Rally going into the final day
The Czech Ford driver had been trying to chase down leader Nasser Al-Attiyah this morning after delays caused by an early driveshaft problem.
Prokop was gradually chipping away at his rival's advantage, but was given a helping hand when Al-Attiyah picked up a 10-second penalty for jumping a stage start, and then lost more time with a slow puncture on SS7.
By the end of the superspecial that closed tonight's action, Prokop had managed to extend his lead to 12.1s, with six stages remaining tomorrow to round off the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season.
The rest of the field is now a long way behind. Seven-time Lebanese champion Roger Feghali is third in his Skoda, having escaped a spin this afternoon, and while he is over a minute adrift of the leading Fords, he has a big gap back to Prokop's team-mate Jaromir Tarabus.
Roman Kresta's Mitsubishi is fifth ahead of Nicos Thomas' Peugeot, with Franz Wittmann having had to retire with a broken wheel. But Wittmann's ROMO Peugeot team-mate Bryan Bouffier has shown great pace, winning all three of this afternoon's full-length stages as he goes flat-out after losing 25 minutes to suspension damage earlier today.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Martin Prokop Ford 1h33m16.6s 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford + 12.1s 3. Roger Feghali Skoda + 1m17.4s 4. Jaromir Tarabus Ford + 3m42.0s 5. Roman Kresta Mitsubishi + 4m42.4s 6. Nicos Thomas Peugeot + 5m42.2s 7. Constantinos Tingirides Mitsubishi + 6m36.9s 8. Charalambos Timotheou Mitsubishi + 7m34.0s 9. Misfer Almari Subaru + 8m06.5s 10. Andreas Philippou Subaru + 10m16.6s
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