The opening night of Rallye Sunseeker saw a surprise leader after an incident on the opening stage forced both stages through gardens in the centre of Bournemouth suspended.

Damage to a lamp post forced rally organisers to halt the evening's running on safety grounds with nominal times awarded as a result for the first two stages of the event.

It means Alec Holding in a Peugeot 205 will hold a shock lead into Saturday's stages.

"An incident involving a competing car has occurred on the opening stage of Rallye Sunseeker, resulting in the suspension of both the two stages through the gardens in the centre of Bournemouth," a statement read. "No spectators were involved and the crew of the car also escaped serious injury, but a lamp post was knocked to the ground, leaving live electricity cables exposed.

"The rally emergency services were on the scene almost immediately and were joined by the County Ambulance & Fire Services who set about the task of recovering the car.

"All the remaining competitors, who will receive notional times for the two stages as per MSA 'Blue Book' regulations, have been instructed to return to the service area at Canford Arena from where the event will restart at on Saturday morning."

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