Miklós Csomos has crashed out of the ERC3 lead of Rally Hungary on the final stage before service, handing Erik Cais the lead after a dramatic morning.
Overnight leaders Marijan Griebel and Alexander Rath (Toksport WRT) were made to rue their decision to run slick tyres on a damp road on the morning pass of Újhuta and dropped 30 seconds to Cais as well as two positions on the leaderboard.
Csomós was then able to consolidate his lead of just over 17s, from Cais this time in SS3, before sliding off road on SS4 which caused terminal damage to his Peugeot 208 R2.
The Hungarian appeared to crash near the end of the stage, straight into a ditch. Helped by spectators, Csomós got back onto the road minus his front bumper, but suspension damage on the front-left hand side meant that he could not continue much further, eventually pulling off.
This allowed Cais to move into the lead ahead of service, 20.2s clear of Griebel despite suffering his own dramas before the morning’s opening stage.
Following SS1, his ACCR Czech Rally Team decided to change the gearbox of Cais’ Ford Fiesta R2T in the 15-minute service before SS2.
Cais was two minutes late in leaving service, which resulted in a 20s penalty. However, the Czech driver is now firmly back in the hunt following Csomós’ misfortune.
Under the restart rules, Csomós can still return for Sunday’s second leg of the rally, provided his team can repair his damaged car.
In the Ladies’ Trophy title battle, Ekaterina Stratieva holds the advantage after the opening loop. The Bulgarian remains just over 15s ahead of nearest challenger Nabila Tejpar’s Peugeot 208 R2, despite losing a chunk of time in the final stage before service.