Freddy Loix holds a narrow lead in Sanremo with three stages to go, as the latest round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge brews into a three-way late showdown.
Saturday's first stage saw early leader Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda UK) reclaim the lead he had lost to Loix (BFO Skoda) last night. But Mikkelsen could not pull away, and by winning the loop-ending Colle d'Oggia stage, Loix edged back into the lead by 2.5 seconds. Mikkelsen remained calm, while ruing a setup adjustment.
"We just made some slight changes to the car before the stage, and this stage was a little more bumpy," he said. "If we push too much before then we're driving very much on the limit. We're comfortable where we are now, but we could push more if needed."
For the second rally in a row, Thierry Neuville made a spectacular start to leg two and has flown back into contention for victory in his Kronos-run Peugeot Belgium/Luxembourg entry. Wins on two of this morning's three stages mean he is now just 4.4s off the lead again.
"It's a close battle. We pushed hard on the first stages to come back," said Neuville, who had been slowed by a brake issue last night. The feeling is good and the setup is good. There are still some places where we slide too much. We'll try to do better on the next loop."
Peugeot France's Bryan Bouffier is still in contention in fourth, 11sec off the lead. Championship leader Jan Kopecky (Skoda) remains a solitary fifth.
Leading positions after SS10:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Freddy Loix BFO Skoda 1h55m59.0s
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 2.5s
3. Thierry Neuville Kronos/Peugeot Belux + 4.4s
4. Bryan Bouffier PH/Peugeot France + 11.5s
5. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 35.2s
6. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot Portugal + 1m03.3s
7. Alessandro Perico PA Peugeot + 3m13.6s
8. Umberto Scandola Car Ford + 3m36.0s
9. Pierre Campana Munaretto Peugeot + 3m42.6s
10. Toni Gardemeister TGS Skoda + 4m41.3s