Dani Sordo got his Rally Sweden off to an encouraging start by winning the opening superspecial in Karlstad this evening. The Citroen number two took part in the recent Arctic Rally to improve his pace on snow, and set the fastest time on tonight's short stage by two seconds over Citroen Junior driver Sebastien Ogier.
Likely title rivals Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) and Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) took a cautious approach to the superspecial and finished third and fourth. Returning former World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm (Stobart Ford) holds equal fifth with Ford's second works driver Jari-Matti Latvala, while Kimi Raikkonen ended his first stage as a World Rally Championship driver in joint eighth for Citroen Junior.
The only drama among the front runners was a spin by Petter Solberg. The Norwegian shrugged off the incident as excessive oversteer, but will start tomorrow's full-length stages already 18sec adrift of the lead.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Dani Sordo Citroen 1m31.4s
2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 2.0s
3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 2.1s
4. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 2.3s
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 2.6s
= Marcus Gronholm Ford + 2.6s
7. Matthew Wilson Ford + 3.9s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen + 5.1s
= Mads Ostberg Subaru + 5.1s
10. Khalid Al Qassimi Ford + 5.2s
= P-G Andersson Skoda + 5.2s