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Sainz scythes through the Swedish snow.

“I'm still learning the roads here in Sweden but my confidence is growing all the time. The first few stages were rather narrow and twisty – not ideal for a big car like the Octavia. However we've been picking up the pace on the faster stages and now I'm looking forward to tomorrow,” said the 37-year-old German.

In terms of tyres Michelin's teams all opted for the French firm's asymmetric tyre to cope with the thin layer of powdery snow, while Pirelli's teams switched between an ice tyre and a snow tyre.

The strongest performance from a non-factory crew has been Swedish national driver Daniel Carlsson, who pushed his Toyota Corolla into the top ten. But in the FIA Teams Cup section, Pasi Hagstrom's Corolla set the pace, comfortably clear of reigning European champion Henrik Lundgaard.

Locals dominated the Group N section for more standard machinery, with Stig-Olov Walfridsson leading the category from Kenneth Backlund.





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