Andreas Mikkelsen will start the Nyíregyháza city stage in control at the top of the Rally Hungary leaderboard following a strong final morning on his return to the FIA European Rally Championship.
Driving for Topp-Cars Rally Team, the Škoda-powered ace heads Grégoire Munster (BMA Autosport) by 90s prior to the 5.78-kilometre street test with home hero Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing) moving into third place, despite a puncture nearing the finish of SS11, following Craig Breen’s retirement on SS12 with a suspected mechanical failure on his Team MRF Tyres Hyundai.
Although he’s on course for his best finish in the ERC, Munster’s morning has been full of drama. His Hyundai i20 R5 refused to fire up leaving overnight parc fermé and further issues starting the engine were experienced in service. A front-left puncture on SS11 added to his woes.
Former Austrian champion Niki Mayr-Melnhof is a fine fourth overall for the DriftCompany Rally Team after he went second fastest on SS12 aboard his Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.
Efrén Llarena is fifth for Rallye Team Spain followed by Oliver Solberg, Callum Devine, Marijan Griebel, Erik Cais (Yacco ACCR Team) and Josh McErlean, who is making his ERC debut for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy. Devine lots time in a ditch on SS12, Griebel spun in fifth gear one kilometre into SS11, while McErlean picked up a puncture when he briefly went off the road to avoid Simon Wagner’s stricken car after the Austrian crashed.
Hungarian Tibor Érdi Jr’s commanding ERC2 lead is intact, despite a slow puncture on SS12. Estonian Autosport Junior Team’s Ken Torn holds a comfortable in ERC3/ERC3 Junior over Pep Bassas, while Andrea Mabellini completed his comeback from a five-minute penalty to take the Abarth Rally Cup lead from Martin Rada on SS12.
The Nyíregyháza stage, which starts close to the event headquarters, is due to begin at 11h22 local time.