The organisers of Rallye Deutschland have cancelled SS17, the penultimate stage of the event, on safety grounds.
The 14.79km repeat run through Dhrontal 2 started at 09.47 hours local time [08.47 hours UK time]. However, only M-Sport's Eric Camilli completed it at speed before the stage was stopped. All competitors were subsequently awarded the same time as Camilli.
Crews will now return to the service park for the regroup, before then proceeding to Sauertal 2 - the Power Stage, the final test of the event.
A statement put out by the organisers read:
“During the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the special stage Dhrontal 2 was stopped. The reason was spectators standing in a forbidden zone. The rally will be continued, as scheduled, with the concluding power stage Sauertal 2 at 12.08 hrs.
“At this occasion, the organiser once again calls on all spectators of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland to respect the designated safety and forbidden zones and to strictly adhere to the instructions by the marshals.
“Spectators standing in safety and forbidden zones not only endanger themselves, but the running of the entire event, because this could cause a special stage to be stopped.”
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier remains on course to win, now 20.3secs up on Hyundai's Dani Sordo, while Andreas Mikkelsen has dropped to fourth. Sordo moved up to second with the quickest time in SS15 this morning. The Spaniard was then second in SS16, with Thierry Neuville fastest to claim third overall. Neuville now sits 2.7secs off Sordo, and 1.4secs up on Mikkelsen in P4.
Behind, Hayden Paddon holds a lonely fifth, from M-Sport's Mads Ostberg and WRC2 class leader Esapekka Lappi.
Pontus Tidemand – not registered for WRC2 points on this event – then comes in eighth ahead of Jan Kopecky and Armin Kremer in ninth and tenth.
Ott Tanak re-started this morning under Rally 2, but is running outside the top-20 after he had to retire on Saturday afternoon with alternator issues.
for Rallye Deutschland leaderboard after SS17