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Solberg takes early Mexican advantage

4 March 2011

Petter Solberg will lead Rally Mexico into Friday's opening day proper after setting the quickest time on the Thursday evening spectator special stage.

At just 1.05km, the Guanajuato Street Stage was the shortest ever seen in the World Rally Championship, with Solberg covering the stage in just 53.2secs to beat fellow Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier to top spot.

Ford pair Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen were fourth and fifth with the top six completed by Federico Villagra as he makes his first outing of the year for the Munchis Ford team.

Evgeny Novikov, another driver making a return to action, was seventh and matched the time set by Matthew Wilson, while Mads Ostberg and Nasser Al-Attiyah completed the top ten.

With the short stage featuring an underground run through a tunnel and some cobbled streets, there was always the risk of incidents despite the short nature of the test, but the only man to run into problems did so before even making it over the start ramp.

An electrical issue saw the Monster Ford Fiesta of Ken Block grind to a halt before going over the start ramp with the American left to work on the car in an effort to get out on the stages on Friday.

Rally Mexico: Overall standings after Stage 1 (Top 10):

1. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC 00mins 53.2secs M
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 00.2secs M
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 00.5secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 01.2secs M
5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 01.6secs M
6. Federico Villagra Munchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 02.3secs M
7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 02.7secs A1
8. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 02.7secs A1
9. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 02.8secs M
10. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 03.5secs S

Other:

11. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 03.7secs M
12. Denis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 04.0secs M

SWRC standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 00mins 56.7secs S
2. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 01.2secs S
3. Juho Hanninen Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 01.7secs S


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