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Solberg Takes Early Lead in Finland

Petter Solberg led the early running of the Rally Finland by topping the 2.05 km Superspecial stage of Killeri 1 on Thursday

The Subaru driver, keen to put a halt to title rival Sebastien Loeb's run of six successive victories, was 0.6 seconds faster than anyone else through the stage.

The stage is unlikely to decide the destiny of the winner at the end of the three stages with all eight points-scoring positions covered by onesecond.

Mitsubishi's Harri Rovanpera was second ahead of pre-event favourite and home town hero Marcus Gronholm. The Peugeot driver was only 0.7 seconds off the pace of the countryman Rovanpera.

Skoda's Armin Swarz gave the Czech manufacturer hope of a podium finish this weekend with by matching Gronholm's time ahead of Loeb, who is likely to be further up the leaderboard tomorrow.

Loeb's pace was matched by the other Mitsubishi of Gigi Galli, nominated as the team's second points scorer for the event.

Peugeot's Sebastien Lindholm beat the team's regular factory driver Markko Martin to seventh.

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