Double champion Richard Mason is on the charge and has a sniff of second place after three stages of the Hawke's Bay Rally.
Attrition has started to take its toll of crews in the rainswept Hawke’s Bay Rally.
Rising star, Callum McInnes, who had set fifth-fastest time on Special Stage 2 and was running seventh overall, left the road during SS3, Cricklewood.
The Subaru Impreza WRX STi driver had been running strongly.
Also in trouble was Kiwi 2 leader Dave Strong whose Honda Civic Type-R had stopped in SS3; and Classic class front-runner Euan Fuge’s Mazda RX3 sedan stopped in the same test.
Hayden Paddon (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) won the text, and has increased hi lead over similarly-mounted Chris West to n24.2 seconds.
West was fourth-fastest in Cricklewood, but arch rival Richard Mason charged there in his Subaru Impreza, beaten by Paddon by only four-tenths of a second.
Mason has closed to 3.2 seconds behind West.
Also fast in Cricklewood was Hawke’s Bay’s Stewart Taylor who took his Evo 9 through the test third-fastest.
Evo 9 drivers Dean Sumner and Brett Martin completed the top six.
After three stages, Paddon leads from West, Mason, Taylor, Sumner and Martin in the overall standings.
Reg Cook (Nissan Micra) leads Kiwi 2 from Aaron Cook (Honda Jazz).
Patrick Malley leads the Ford Fiesta Challenge and is 10th overall.
Eleventh overall and leading Classic competitor is Robert Murray in a Mazda RX-7.
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