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WRC NEWS 

Solberg leads after opening stage

Petter Solberg has taken an early lead in the Swedish Rally after setting the fastest time in the first run through the Karlstad superspecial.

The Subaru driver completed the 1.89-kilometre stage in 1:28.9, half a second quicker than Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala.

Mikko Hirvonen currently holds third in the second works Ford, ahead of world champion Sebastien Loeb (Citroen).

The Citroen team have already been dealt a blow after Loeb's teammate Dani Sordo received a five-minute penalty for a post-Monte Carlo engine change.

Drivers are required to use the same engine for the championship's opening two rounds, but Citroen discovered damage to Sordo's engine following the season opener. The Spaniard had retired from second place due to a turbo failure on the second day in Monte Carlo, before rejoining to take 11th.

Stobart Ford pair Henning Solberg and Gigi Galli complete the initial top six in Sweden, with the two Suzukis, and privateers Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen filling the remaining top ten places following the short opening stage.

The rally commences in earnest on Friday morning, with the first full-length stage scheduled to start at 9.34am local time.

Leading positions after SS1:

Pos  Driver        Car      Time
 1.  P Solberg     Subaru   1:28.9
 2.  Latvala       Ford      + 0.5
 3.  Hirvonen      Ford      + 0.9
 4.  Loeb          Citroen   + 1.1
 5.  H Solberg     Ford      + 1.5
 6.  Galli         Ford      + 2.0
 7.  Andersson     Suzuki    + 2.0
 8.  Gardemeister  Suzuki    + 3.2
 9.  Ostberg       Subaru    + 4.1
10.  Mikkelsen     Ford      + 4.5

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