Nikara, who has taken over Anders Grondal’s registration for his home rally and is eligible for championship points at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer, rolled nearing the end of stage four, losing more than two minutes in the process.
“On the small road I lost brakes and we went upside down but we don’t have much damage,” said Nikara. “We had to wait for some spectators and we lost a lot of time. On the first stage on Thursday our tyre pressure was too high so we had to make some set-up adjustments on the road section.”
Flodin, from Sweden, is desperate to claim maximum points in the PWRC following his frustrating start to the season. He was a mere 0.5s behind Nikara starting day two but now leads Hayden Paddon in the overall standings by 4.3s after four stages.
“We are trying to think about what we can do to make it better,” said Flodin. “I was a bit too steady on stage two but otherwise it has been good but the first stage today was scary fast.”
New Zealander Paddon, who began the event joint top of the drivers’ standings, was third overall after day one, 13.1s behind Nikara. “We had a nice, clear and tidy run but we are struggling a bit with the car set-up and there is definitely more speed to come,” said the Subaru pilot on Thursday night.
Finnish wildcard entrant Riku Tahko was an impressive fourth overnight despite adopting what he described as a “safe pace”. Countryman Jukka Ketomaki is fifth with Mikko Pajunen a strong sixth. Michal Kosciuszko reported a rear differential problem on his Mitsubishi Lancer.
Joint title leader Martin Semerad was eighth after Thursday’s trio of stages following a “big moment” on stage two when he slid off the road. Oleksandr Saliuk and Benito Guerra were ninth and 10th respectively starting the second day.
Saliuk, from Ukraine, reported gearbox problems on Thursday, while Mexican Guerra felt he could have been closer to the pace had it not been for shock absorber problems on stage one and an off-road moment on stage three.
Abu Dhabi driver Bader Al Jabri hit a tree on stage one and retired. Dmitry Tagirov suffered overheating brakes on stage one and reporting dropping time in heavy dust clouds. He was 11th after three stages, one place ahead of Briton Harry Hunt.
"On the small road I lost brakes and we went upside down..."