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Fords make early running


The two works Fords lead after Special Stage 1 of Repco Rally New Zealand

Works Ford Focus RS driver Jari-Matti Latvala has won the opening stage of Repco Rally New Zealand at Pirongia in the western Waikato.

Latvala was 1.2 seconds faster than teammate Mikko Hirvonen, with top seed and world champion, Sebastien Loeb, third 5.1 seconds further back in the Citroen C4 WRC.

Loeb has the disadvantage of running first on the road, sweeping the unexpectedly dry and dusty stages of loose gravel.

The Frenchman survived a mid-stage incident in which the Citroen went up on two wheels before regaining the road.

Dani Sordo is fourth in the second Citroen, ahead of Subaru’s Chris Atkinson.

Subaru team leader, Petter Solberg, is mysteriously off the pace, running 10th overall. He lost a chunk of time early in the stage and progressively lost more as the test progressed.

Richard Mason (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) is so far the fastest of the Kiwis.

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