Toni Gardemeister set the quickest time on Thursday during the shakedown for the Rally of Nations event, being run to cover Mexico's absence from this year's World Rally Championship calendar.

Gardemeister completed the 10.10 kilometre stage in 3 minutes 2.4 seconds, 2.8 seconds up on Patrik Sandell, who was 'best of the rest'.

"I'm really happy with my time," said Gardemeister. "I feel the suspension is a little rigid, but otherwise, I have no problems. I hope I can have a good rally now."

Related Articles

Sandell, who won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2006, was also pretty happy with his Mitsubishi.

"I feel good with the car, despite this being the first time I have driven it," said the Swede. "We made a few changes before the last two laps and the car improved even more. I feel good with it. So I hope to provide a good show tomorrow."

Brice Tirabassi meanwhile was third, 1.9 seconds further back, closely followed by Didier Auriol and Andreas Aigner.

"The car feels good at times, although the stages are different from the shakedown," said Tirabassi. "The car is very good for me.

"My time is good - we just need to check the start position on the road and the engine's temperature."

Leading shakedown times:

1. Toni Gardemeister Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 02.4secs Finland
2. Patrick Sandell Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 05.2secs Sweden
3. Brice Tirabassi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 07.1secs France
4. Didier Auriol Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 07.7secs France
5. Andreas Aigner Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 07.8secs Austria
6. Xavi Pons Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 08.4secs Spain
= Harri Rovanpera Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 08.4secs Finland
8. Dani Sola Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 09.0secs Spain
9. Hermann Gassner Jr. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 11.3secs Germany
10. Brice Tirabassi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 12.0secs France
11. Ricardo Trevi?o Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 13.7secs Mexico Team 2
12. Manfred Stohl Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 15.1secs Austria
13. Mark Wallenwein Subaru Impreza WRX 3mins 15.9secs Germany
14. Phillip Morrow Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 18.3secs Great Britain
15. Rodrigo Salgado Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3mins 18.4secs Mexico Team 2