Thierry Neuville leads the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title decider in Cyprus after Andreas Mikkelsen had a spin on SS3.
Mikkelsen (Skoda UK) had extended his overnight lead by winning the opening Koilinia stage. But a spin on Salamiou then cost him 16.8 seconds to Neuville and gave the Kronos Peugeot driver an 8.8sec advantage. With reigning champion Juho Hanninen having crashed his Skoda early on SS2, Neuville and Mikkelsen both know that they will take the IRC title if they win the rally.
Current points leader Jan Kopecky is a cautious third at present in the remaining works Skoda, 21sec off the lead, and 4sec ahead of 2010 Cyprus winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, whose Ford has had a suspected differential problem this morning.
Freddy Loix, the other IRC title contender, is a minute off the pace in sixth as he tries to get back up to speed on gravel after three years of predominantly asphalt competition. His BFO Skoda is running just behind Skoda Sweden's Patrik Sandell.
Leading positions after SS3:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Thierry Neuville Kronos/Peugeot Belux 35m12.1s
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 8.8s
3. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 21.2s
4. Nasser Al-Attiyah Barwa Ford + 25.2s
5. Patrik Sandell Skoda Sweden + 56.2s
6. Freddy Loix BFO Skoda + 1m01.1s
7. Karl Kruuda ME3 Skoda + 1m28.1s
8. Matthias Kahle Skoda Deutschland + 1m46.1s
9. Toshi Arai Arai Subaru + 2m00.9s
10. Mark Wallenwein Skoda Deutschland + 2m01.6s