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Hirvonen takes Rally NZ lead


Ford drivers in top podium places after two stages

Mikko Hirvonen is the new Rally New Zealand leader after Special Stage 2 at Waitomo in the western Waikato.

Hirvonen won SS2.1, the first half of a projected long stage which has been cut in two after a massive slip damaged the road last week.

The Finn is 0.1 of a second ahead of his Ford Focus RS teammate Jari-Matti Latvala.

Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC) is third, with teammate Dani Sordo fourth. The top four are covered by 7.5 seconds and have opened a 16-scedon gap over Chris Atkinson’s Subaru Impreza WRC 2008.

Petter Solberg has improved to eighth overall after being plagued by a mysterious problem in the second works Subaru.

Solberg says his situation on SS1 where he lost a big chunk of time and finished 10th fastest was “very bad (but) that’s how it is.

“Don’t know what the problem is.”

More from Rally NZ throughout the day and the weekend.

Newsflash: Hirvonen has retaiend his lead after SS3, with Latvala second ahead of Loeb and Sordo.

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