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Rally of Portugal's final Friday stages called off

The final three Friday stages in Portugal have been called off as a result of the poor weather in the region.

Torrential rain had hit the area in the morning, leading to a dramatic first loop in which Ford team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg both crashed while leading, and many other frontrunners either went off the road or suffered technical problems related to the level of water.

Adding to the complications, cars became stuck in water on road sections between stages, trapping some of the field on the way to a refuelling point.

The second Friday loop was delayed at first, with cars held at service in Faro, as the organisers were determined to try and at least run some of the stages. But it has now been announced that SS8-SS10 will not be run at all "for safety reasons".

Citroen driver Mikko Hirvonen takes a 36-second lead into Saturday, with private Ford men Evgeny Novikov and Mads Ostberg next up after Latvala, Solberg and Sebastien Loeb's accidents.

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