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Franciacorta World Rallycross: Kristoffersson and Solberg top heats

Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg share the overnight lead of the Italian World Rallycross Championship round at Franciacorta, having both set a fastest and second-fastest time in Saturday's heats

Championship leader Solberg might well have led, had he not had to pass Jerome Grosset-Janin in the opening lap of the first heat after making a worse start than the Frenchman.

Solberg made a good start in heat two, led his race from lights to flag and set a time almost two seconds quicker than Kristoffersson's best, despite struggling with illness.

"I didn't do a perfect joker lap in the second heat but in general it was a good run," said Solberg.

"I only did one run in free practice so the chassis wasn't perfect for the start of the first heat, but the day has gone well.

"I have a full fever, I've been sleeping between the heats and I've seen the FIA doctor, so we're happy with where we are."

Third overall is double European Rallycross champion Timur Timerzyanov, who is enjoying a recent return to form, with championship protagonist Timmy Hansen fourth following his worst opening World RX day for some time.

Toomas Heikkinen had two clean races and is fifth overall, ahead of Anton Marklund in sixth.

Marklund's one-off team-mate Andrew Jordan had a difficult opening day standing in for DTM-occupied Mattias Ekstrom.

The British Touring Car Championship star suffered a puncture on the final lap of the opening heat but worse was to follow when the EKS team discovered a driveline problem with his Audi. As a result he was unable to start heat two.

World Rally Championship podium finisher Manfred Stohl rolled his Ford Fiesta in the closing stages of the morning's free practice session but his World RX Team Austria squad was able to repair the car in time for heat one.

Although there was no time to reset the suspension geometry, the Austrian set two competitive times and is 14th overall.

In heat two, Irishman Ollie O'Donovan also rolled heavily in the same place as Stohl.

British driver Liam Doran made a slow start in heat one but was fourth quickest in heat two and is just one place away from a semi-final qualifying position, behind JRM Racing pilot Guerlain Chicherit.

Italian hero Gigi Galli's new Kia Rio Supercar did not run in the heats after technical troubles in practice.

The event also hosts the final round of the European Rallycross Championship.

Championship leader Tommy Rustad suffered a puncture in heat two and is three places behind title rival Grosset-Janin.

Alexander Hvaal currently leads the Euro RX table at the close of day one.

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