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Night stages cancelled due to weather

This evening's two night stages in Ireland have been cancelled due to the level of standing water in the stages

Weather conditions have been poor throughout the first leg of the World Rally Championship season opener, with the drivers using the standard tyres struggling in this morning's early stages in particular.

Now the organisers have decided that the Murley and Fardross stages that had been scheduled to start at 6.54pm and 7.39pm local time this evening are too wet to run safely. The rain is still falling on the rally route at present.

The cancellation means that Sebastien Loeb takes a 44-second lead over Citroen teammate Dani Sordo into leg two, with Mikko Hirvonen third for Ford.

"It's a shame - the atmosphere of driving at night can be very special," Loeb told autosport.com. "But the organisers know how much water is on the road so for safety this is the right decision.

"I only hope they have told the spectators standing at the side of the road early because it's not nice standing in the rain."

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