Andreas Mikkelsen remains on course for Cyprus Rally victory and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title with three stages to go. The Skoda UK driver won this morning's first two stages, Gialia and Stavros, to take his lead over Nasser Al-Attiyah up to over half a minute.
An attacking drive from Al-Attiyah (Autotek Ford) on SS8 Anadiou saw the 2010 Cyprus winner trim Mikkelsen's advantage to 26 seconds, despite going off the road early on and having a spin, but his charge looks to have come too late to make Al-Attiyah a threat for victory.
Pre-rally championship leader Jan Kopecky's title hopes continue to fade in third place. He was moved much closer to Al-Attiyah overnight when the organisers decided to adjust his time for SS4 to make up for get caught behind Thierry Neuville's limping Kronos Peugeot, but fell away again this morning and is now 22s behind the Ford in a lonely third. Kopecky's Skoda teammate Juho Hanninen has rejoined following his crash yesterday morning but is 29th.
BFO Skoda's Freddy Loix also now needs a miracle to claim the IRC title, having dropped back behind Patrik Sandell (Skoda Sweden) in their ongoing battle for fourth.
Leading positions after SS8:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK 1h46m13.3s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Autotek Ford + 26.8s
3. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 48.2s
4. Patrik Sandell Skoda Sweden + 2m28.6s
5. Freddy Loix BFO Skoda + 2m41.7s
6. Karl Kruuda ME3 Skoda + 3m52.2s
7. Matthias Kahle Skoda Deutschland + 5m44.3s
8. Toshi Arai Arai Subaru + 6m44.5s
9. Nicos Thomas Thomas Mitsubishi + 7m41.4s
10. Charalambos Timotheou Mitsubishi (private) + 10m02.2s