Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to lead the Intercontinental Rally Championship's Cyprus Rally, and is fending off a strong challenge from the recovering Martin Prokop.
Czech Ford driver Prokop suffered a broken driveshaft last night which both cost him time on yesterday's superspecial and led to a 20-second penalty for being late out of service this morning. He then mounted a charge, winning SS2 and SS3 to get within 11sec of Al-Attiyah (Barwa Ford), but Prokop's soft tires faded on the 17 kilometers of Agioi Vavatsinias, leaving him 19.2sec behind Al-Attiyah as they head for service.
Andreas Mikkelsen, one of the pre-rally favorites after his strong second place in Scotland, did not even make it to the first full-length stage, as his Hankook Ford stopped with an engine failure on the road section before SS2.
The Peugeot challenge has also faltered. Bryan Bouffier had to stop for nearly 25 minutes on the Kalavasos stage to change damaged suspension, but despite still feeling the steering was not right, he was second-quickest behind Prokop on SS3 and SS4.
Bouffier's ROMO teammate Franz Wittmann had to take a 1m50sec penalty for being late out of service, and then dropped a little more time when he damaged his suspension on Lythrodontas. Fellow Peugeot driver Nicos Thomas briefly got up to fifth, but the local favorite lost nearly two and a half minutes with brake and gear problems on SS5.
That leaves Roger Feghali in third, despite the Lebanese driver running with slightly bent suspension after a brush with a barrier on the superspecial. Feghali does not have a spare of the damaged part, but was pleasantly surprised by the pace he was able to maintain even with the problem.
Prokop's teammate Jaromir Tarabus is fourth, ahead of Roman Kresta in the leading Group N car.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford 46m53.4s
2. Martin Prokop Ford + 19.2s
3. Roger Feghali Skoda + 29.5s
4. Jaromir Tarabus Ford + 1m22.3s
5. Roman Kresta Mitsubishi + 2m04.7s
6. Franz Wittmann Peugeot + 2m58.3s
7. Constantinos Tingirides Mitsubishi + 3m08.0s
8. Savvas Savva Mitsubishi + 3m16.3s
9. Nicos Thomas Peugeot + 3m26.6s
10. Daniel Oliveira Peugeot + 3m29.3s