Irish rising star Craig Breen is an impressive fifth in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 with Patrik Sandell a strong sixth for Skoda Sweden. Jan Kopecky, the IRC title leader, is a distant seventh on his Rally of Scotland debut. The Czech admitted to struggling to adapt to the treacherous conditions on a rare outing on gravel.
Behind IRC Production Cup leader Jarkko Nikara, Toni Gardemeister is ninth with PG Andersson eleventh for Proton Motorsports. The Swede had excelled throughout the morning with a succession of rapid stage times to the extent he was fourth overall after stage five. However, an electrical glitch delayed his departure from the Perth regroup and the addition of 2min 20secs of time penalties has dropped him out of contention for a possible podium.
Toshi Arai is twelfth overall in his R4-specification Subaru Impreza with Matthias Kahle 14th at the wheel of his SKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia. The multiple German rally champion is one of several Rally of Scotland newcomers and admitted his lack of knowledge of the demanding terrain is masking his true pace.
In the battle for IRC 2WD Cup honours, Honda Civic Type R driver Martin Kangur leads from defending champion Harry Hunt and Jean-Michel Raoux, currently second in the class standings. Mark Donnelly was leading but dropped out with engine failure. Although David Bogie remains firmly in contention for IRC Production Cup glory, it's been a frustrating day for several home-grown talents. Englishman Wilks was in the fight for first place when he spun into a ditch and got stuck for more than five minutes. He holds 15th overnight, but Scottish favourite Alister McRae retired his Proton Satria Neo from the top ten when a rock holed the car's sump and depleted the oil supply on the first run through Errochty.
“I was pushing like hell and pushed too hard and made a mistake,” Wilks admitted, “The car ended up beached and it took us several minutes to get it out. I'm massively disappointed as we can't now get the result we wanted.”
Alastair Fisher, from Northern Ireland, was seventh when a front-right driveshaft failure left his Fiesta in rear-wheel-drive only for two stages this morning. He has recovered to 13th place. Two punctures and a broken wheel delayed Welsh driver Jason Pritchard, while Burcu Cetinkaya, who became the first female driver to score IRC points when she finished Rally of Scotland in eighth overall last season, is 24th after making her return to the series this weekend.