Teemu Suninen capitalised on misfortune for daylong leader Pontus Tidemand to lead WRC 2 at PZM 73rd Rally Poland on Friday night.
Suninen chased his rival through the blisteringly fast sandy speed tests as Tidemand eased out a lead in his Skoda Fabia R5 which peaked at 11.2sec.
But damaged front suspension stopped Tidemand in the penultimate stage, handing the overnight advantage to Suninen, who won two stages compared to the Swede’s five.
The Finn, also in a Fabia R5, led fellow countryman Esapekka Lappi by 4.6sec with championship leader Elfyn Evans a further 17.3sec behind in third in a Ford Fiesta R5. Evans was surprised by the pace of those ahead, but a half-spin didn’t help his cause.
Karl Kruuda, who led after Thursday night’s curtain-raising test in the rally base of Mikolajki, held fourth in another Fiesta R5, 7.3sec down on Evans. Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs was fifth in a Fabia R5 with Marius Aasen almost a minute further back in sixth.
Early casualties included Quentin Giordano and Yoann Bonato who both retired and will not restart tomorrow, while Emil Bergqvist was sidelined this afternoon when pushing for a top six place.
Local hero Hubert Ptaszek lost time after losing power in his Fabia R5 before brake problems slowed him further. Fellow countryman and European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz plunged down the order after dropping almost three minutes.