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Gronholm takes leg one honours on Rally GB.

Dale was caught out by the low sun in the sky in SS2 and rolled his Lancer. He reached service, despite having to stop and fill a damaged radiator with water at every opportunity in SS3, but when Ralliart mechanics examined his car they discovered too much damage to the roll cage for him to continue.

Delecour has competed with heavy strapping across his chest - a legacy of his Rally Australia accident - but the Frenchman has kept his Lancer in the top 20. Team-mate Paasonen has had a couple of overshoots and one two-wheel moment but he ended the day 17th overall, just one place behind Delecour.

Dale said: ''I'm totally gutted. I just came to a fairly slow left-hander after a long straight and the sun appeared through the trees and totally blinded me. Obviously we knew the bodyshell was quite badly damaged but we did everything we could to overcome the broken radiator - we stopped at every stream possible in the second stage to top up the water. To make it back to service in time and then realise that the cage is too badly damaged is really disappointing.''

Of the other entries there has been plenty of thrilling competition in the Junior World Rally Championship category of the event, with four different leaders in the first four stages. MG driver Gwyndaf Evans led after last night's superspecial, but Finn Janne Tuohino charged in his Saxo to grab the advantage on this morning's first forest stage. Junior WRC title hopeful Daniel Sola then claimed the top spot in SS3, before suffering a puncture and dropping nearly a minute. That allowed Tuohino back into the top spot, ahead of the other title aspirant Andrea Dallavilla, who has survived punctures on two separate stages. British challengers Evans and Niall McShea remain in contention, however, and Sola has already started to fight back.

World MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi failed to complete a single forest stage, meanwhile. On his debut in the FIA World Rally Championship, the Italian put the back wheels of his Peugeot 206 WRC off the road in the opening stage this morning and even after he managed to find some spectators, he was unable to regain the stage. His car was totally undamaged in the incident and once it had been towed onto the road, navigator Carlo Cassina was able to drive it back to service.



Rally statistics - Leg 1:

Starters: 85 crews (65 Group A and 20 Group N) started this morning.

Retirements: Dale (GB), and 10 other drivers.

Today - Friday 1 November: The second part of Leg 1 started from Cardiff at 05h15 and covered 622.54km, including 132.58km on six special stages.

Tomorrow - Saturday 2 November: Leg 2 starts from Cardiff at 06h00 and covers 508.39km, including 117.04km on six special stages. The first car is expected to arrive in Cardiff at 20h30.

Weather forecast: More cloudy with heavy showers.


Stage by stage summary - Leg 1:

SS1 Cardiff Super special 1 (2.45kms)#:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 2m 07.7
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 2m 08.3
3. C. McRae (GB) Ford 2m 08.8

# This stage took place yesterday evening.

SS2 Brechfa 1 (23.12kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 13m 24.2
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 13m 24.7
3. Sainz (E) Ford 13m 36.2

Leaders after SS2:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 15m 33.5
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 15m 35.5
3. Martin (EE) Ford 15m 44.7

SS3 Trawscoed 1 (27.97kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 16m 36.5
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 16m 50.3
3. Martin (EE) Ford 16m 54.8

Leaders after SS3:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 32m 10.0
2. Martin (EE) Subaru 32m 39.5
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 32m 40.3

SS4 Brechfa 2 (23.12kms):
Stage cancelled due to spectator congestion.

SS5 Trawscoed 2 (27.97kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 16m 52.6
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 17m 00.8
3. C. McRae (GB) Ford 17m 02.4

Leaders after SS5:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 49m 02.6
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 49m 41.1
3. Martin (EE) Ford 49m 43.1

SS6 Rheola 1 (27.95kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 15m 55.5
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 16m 01.3
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 16m 06.6

Leaders after SS6:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 1h 04m 58.8
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 1h 05m 47.7
3. Martin (EE) Ford 1h 05m 49.9

SS7 Cardiff Super special 2 (2.45kms):
1. Solberg (N) Subaru 2m 07.2
2. Martin (EE) Ford 2m 07.7
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2m 08.4

Leaders after SS7:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 1h 07m 06.6
2. Solberg (N) Subaru +48.3
3. Martin (EE) Ford +51.0
4. Sainz (E) Ford +1m 04.9
5. Rovanpera (FIN) Peugeot +1m 44.9
6. Makinen (FIN) Subaru +1m 48.6
7. C.McRae (GB) Ford +1m 59.5
8. Burns (GB) Peugeot +2m 01.4
9. Loeb (F) Citroen +2m 13.8
10. Loix (BEL) Hyundai +2m 51.3






Related Pictures

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Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
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