IRC: Hanninen leads epic IRC battle in Northern Ireland

Frenchman Mathieu Arzeno impressed and is next up in fifth in the second Saintéloc 207. Arzeno could have finished higher up the order but for a spin on stage one and a handbrake glitch on stage two.

Robert Barrable is sixth for Skoda Ireland after spending the opening stages developing a suitable set-up and rhythm on what could be the first of several IRC appearances this season. He conceded to being too cautious in the heavy rain on stage four but otherwise impressed.

Skoda Auto Deutschland's Sepp Wiegand is eighth after a front-left puncture cost him almost two minutes on stage three. Garry Jennings heads the IRC Production Cup standings in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer in ninth position, despite an intercom fault developing on the third run. Sam Moffett is second in class in tenth position.

Marty McCormack leads the IRC 2WD Cup on his first competitive outing since last November, following an overshoot on stage two and a nudge with a bank on stage four, which the Northern Irish ace said had bent the rear axle of his Citroen DS3 R3T. Fortunately for McCormack, the cancellation of stage five has limited any substantial time loss.

Tommy Doyle is second in the category after brake and a gear indicator problem hampered his Renault Clio R3. There was frustration too for Honda Civic Type R driver Menya Krozser, whose car suffered a puncture and a broken driveshaft on stage three. Robert Consani was also out of luck on the third test when he picked up a puncture and then incurred more delay trying to change the damaged tyre.

The event now continues on Saturday with 10 stages on the bill over a competitive distance of 142.26 kilometres.

Stage six, the 25-kilometre Redrock test, goes live at 09:07hrs local time. The finish is scheduled at 19:00hrs in Armagh.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Juho Hanninen. Skoda Fabia S2000. Sata Rallye Acores
Alastair Fisher. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day one
Craig Breen. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day one
Juho Hanninen. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day one

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