IRC: Hanninen leads in Zlin

Aigner moved to the top of the IRC Production Cup division when last year's winner Jaroslav Orsak took a more cautious approach through the mud-coated sections of the second Pindula stage. And the Stohl Racing ace pulled clear when Orsak punctured on stage nine. Despite being saddled with a 60-second time penalty, Jarkko Nikara shone by closing to within 10 seconds of Aigner in his Tommi Makinen Racing Subaru. But a crash on stage seven led to the Finn's retirement after he'd gone third fastest outright on stage five. Japan's Toshi Arai is second in the category starting day two.

Sepp Wiegand is eleventh overnight following a huge moment on stage seven when his Skoda Auto Deutschland Fabia slid sideways under braking for a corner, struck a tree backwards and ended up in a ditch. The 21-year-old was delayed by more than 1m20s in what was the first accident of his career.

After an alternator glitch slowed him through the Zlin superspecial, Petter Solberg Engineering's Patrik Flodin was hampered by an engine misfire for large chunks of the day, which the Swede reckoned had delayed him by more than one minute. He's currently 15th in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 after stopping to change a puncture on stage nine. Pavel Valousek retired before stage two as a result of engine damage sustained when his Peugeot lost oil pressure on SSS Zlín.

Robert Consani heads the IRC 2WD Cup battle in his Renault Megane RS after a rapid showing. Czech youngster Jan Cerny is second but there was frustration for Honda Civic Type R driver Martin Kangur who crashed out on stage four having suffered a puncture on stage three.

Sunday's action consists of six stages and begins with the 21.40-kilometre Halenkovice test at 08:57hrs local time. The finish is scheduled for 14:30hrs in Zlin. Both runs of the famous Majak stage will be shown live on Eurosport and free-to-air Czech TV.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Robert Consani. Renault Mégane RS. Barum Czech Rally Zlin [Pic credit: IRC]
Andreas Aigner. Subaru Impreza R4 STI. Barum Czech Rally Zlin [Pic credit: IRC]
Juho Hanninen. Skoda Fabia S2000. Barum Czech Rally Zlin [Pic credit: IRC]

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