Mikko Hirvonen will take a six-second lead over Sebastien Loeb into day two of the Rally Sweden.
The World Rally Champion trimmed a couple of seconds from Hirvonen's advantage by winning the Karlstad superspecial that ended today's action – although Hirvonen had already pledged to take things very carefully on the short stage as he expected the road conditions to be poor because it had already been used by the whole field yesterday evening. Sure enough, the top drivers' times were all three or more seconds down on last night's pace.
The Ford and Citroen number ones therefore go into leg two split by 6.2swx, with Dani Sordo only a further 4sec behind in the second Citroen.
Jari-Matti Latvala is half a minute adrift of the lead following a frustrating day in which he could not get up to speed in the second factory Ford. He has a comfortable gap back to Citroen Junior's Sebastien Ogier in the best of the semi-works cars, the Frenchman having enjoyed an early battle with Marcus Gronholm before the Finn's Stobart Ford lost 13 minutes with an electrical glitch.
Stobart still has two cars in the points with Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson, but the latter lost seventh place to Adapta Subaru's Mads Ostberg on the superspecial. The Norwegian edged ahead by 0.9sec, having come into the stage 0.3sec behind.
Petter Solberg, Gronholm and Kimi Raikkonen are all still running outside the top 10 after their problems earlier today, with Raikkonen's crash leaving him 47th at present, half an hour behind the leaders.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Mikko Hirvonen Ford 1h08m04.8s
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 6.2s
3. Dani Sordo Citroen + 10.6s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 31.7s
5. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 1m10.9s
6. Henning Solberg Ford + 2m16.2s
7. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 3m20.2s
8. Matthew Wilson Ford + 3m21.1s
9. P-G Andersson Skoda + 4m16.1s
10. Janne Tuohino Ford + 5m15.3s