Midday update: Kopecký closing in on Zlín ERC lead
Alexey Lukyanuk is holding on to first place on Barum Czech Rally Zlín but has past FIA European Rally Championship title winner Jan Kopecký closing in quickly after five stages.
Tyre strategy came into play amidst inclement weather, withKopecký choosing dry tyres and FIA ERC Junior U28 leader Nikolay Gryazin taking full wets. Rally leader Lukyanuk went down the middle, selecting an intermediate compound.
Both Lukyanuk and Gryazin sped away initially, withKopecký losing half a minute on stage two with a puncture. However, stage five turned the lead battle on its head, with anticipated rain not materialising as the first cars came through.
On dry tyres Kopecký took 13.3s out of Lukyanuk and 23.5s out of a bemused Gryazin, promoting Kopecký to second and Junior U28 leader Gryazin down to third overall.
Hyundai Motorsport's WRC factor driver Dani Sordo remains fourth and within touching distance of the leading trio, 23.4s behind Lukyanuk.
Miroslav Jakeš slipped past his Czech compatriot Filip Mareš for fifth overall. Mareš had fitted full wets to the rear of his ACCR Czech Team ŠKODA Fabia, making his car especially hard to drive in a semi-dry stage five. He remains second in ERC Junior U28, though has dropped 40.6s behind leader Gryazin.