Lappi focused on WRC 2 hat-trick in Germany
Al-Attiyah switches to Fabia for asphalt encounter
The Czech driver, on only his second WRC appearance of the season in a Skoda Fabia R5, headed Craig Breen by 1min 22.6sec with Eric Camilli a further 14.3sec back in third.
Kopecký built a 21.2sec advantage over Armin Kremer after this morning’s four stages, the German putting home advantage to good use over country roads near the Belgian border and vineyard tracks along the banks of the Mosel river, near Trier.
But when Kremer stopped on the liaison section to SS5 with low oil pressure in the engine of his Fabia R5, it left Kopecký clear of Breen’s Peugeot 208 T16 and he extended his advantage. The damage to Kremer’s engine will prevent him from restarting tomorrow.
Breen survived a big spin in SS5 after clipping a kerb, while Camilli enjoyed a troublefree day in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Championship leader Esapekka Lappi and title rival Nasser Al-Attiyah were expected to fight it out at the front but Lappi retired after crashing his Fabia R5 into a tree in SS2. Al-Attiyah dropped a minute after going off the road in SS1 and a further minute with a puncture two stages later.
Quentin Giordano was fourth in a DS 3 RRC ahead of Teemu Suninen, the Finn driving only his second asphalt rally. Al-Attiyah recovered to complete the top six in another Fabia R5.
Julien Maurin was third until two spins and a broken brake calliper forced his retirement, while Fabian Kreim held fifth until a broken turbo meant he started the final stage late and a 60sec penalty relegated him to ninth.