Skoda's Jan Kopecky leads the FIA ERC SATA Rallye Açores at the end of day 2 in Portugal by just over 13 seconds from Peugeot's Craig Breen, after previous overnight leader Robert Kubica lost time in thick fog in the final stage of the morning.
The conditions had dropped Kubica back to sixth place going into lunch thanks to conditions which reduced visibility to under ten metres in places.
Once in front, Kopecky put discretion before valour of the rest of the day and didn't top any of the stage times for the rest of the day. Breen won the final stage to claw 2.8 seconds back on the rally leader going into day 2 after suffering a puncture three kilometres into stage seven, while Bernardo Sousa led two in the Ford Fiesta RRC as he closed in on a tight three-way battle for third place with Bruno Magalhãesecs and Ricardo Moura, just 2.2 seconds covering the trio of cars at the end of Friday.
Also pressing hard in the afternoon to recover the morning's lost ground, Kubica topped the day's second tour through Batalha Golfe but then subsequently rolled his Citroen DS3 on what proved to be the final stage of the day, the second run through Feteiras.
"We went to a right-hander and I lost the car," the Polish driver explained. "The road was very narrow so we clipped a bank. We nearly managed to get it back but the bank was bigger and thicker and unfortunately it pulled us on the side and we rolled.
"At the end of the stage we managed to fix a bit the wheel and we managed to come back," he added. "The roll cage is okay from our point of view ... If we manage to get the car sorted out then after that we will see if we carry on."
Stage 12 - a return pass through Sete Cidades - was cancelled on safety grounds due to the return of even thicker fog, but that was a boost for Kubica who had been able to get his car to the end of Feteiras and who can now have his team work on the substantial damage to the #4 overnight.
The former F1 driver denied that the fog had contributed to his roll, however. “It was not an issue of visibility, the conditions are very difficult and very difficult for everybody," he said. "I was surprised how the car reacted. I was not expecting it.
"I was not pushing because we had bad luck with the fog at the end of the last stage of the first loop," he admitted. "Even driving at normal speed there was very poor grip in the corner and we lost the car. It was a result of a mistake. When you see the car like this you don't enjoy it.”