Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm leads the Uddeholm Swedish Rally at the end of day one - however the Finn has only a minute advantage, just 0.2 seconds up on Petter Solberg, following seven special stages and over 100 competitive kilometres.

Gronholm took the lead on SS3, when Solberg, who had won the first two tests, made a mistake with his suspension settings, the Finn thus powered through winning the test and taking the overall advantage.

Although Gronholm briefly lost the lead on SS6, the Finn was having none of it, and struck back on the super special, to go into tomorrow at the head of the pack.

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"I'm very pleased to be in the lead, but I am not a hundred percent happy with some of the settings on my car: there are still some areas in which we can improve," he said. "Today was quite difficult as the stages in the afternoon were not in very good condition, so it became a question of looking after the tyres to make sure that all the studs stayed in. I am feeling quite confident for tomorrow, but I am sure that everybody is hoping for a bit more snow to make this a proper winter rally!"

Rallye Monte Carlo winner, Sebastien Loeb meanwhile lies third, just 10.2 seconds behind and still more than in the fight for victory, despite over-shooting a junction on SS4.

"We were lucky to go straight on at an intersection [on SS4] but we ended up with the nose in a small ditch," explained the Frenchman. "We had to reverse out and we lost 18 seconds."

Next up is Gigi Galli, who had a fantastic day in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo WRC05, winning SS6 and finishing the leg fourth, just 18.9 seconds adrift of the leader, and nearly 40 seconds up on team-mate and team leader, Harri Rovanpera, who lies eighth.

"For me our result is a big surprise! The car and tyre choice has all been perfect today and I am quite shocked by my driving, but I have been thinking about everything that can make a difference and we have to be very happy," he said. "All the time the car gets better and better with the on-going development work, but there are still two days to go and even though we are obviously very happy, I am trying to keep focused and calm because unless we finish the rally, I have not done my job or the right one for Mitsubishi."

Francois Duval is fifth in the second Xsara, one place ahead of his former team-mate Markko Martin, while Toni Gardemeister lies seventh, the lead Ford Focus, the Finn struggling to find the right set-up.

Skoda's Mattias Ekstrom and Janne Tuohino round out the top ten, the latter certainly showing he has what it takes, despite the fact the reigning DTM champion is more use to circuit racing.

"This was a good first day although there were a couple of mistakes but they were my own fault," said the DTM ace. "I have been able to attack with confidence and I managed to set some competitive times so I have every reason to think I can go well again tomorrow."

Of the rest, 'works' drivers' Henning Solberg, Roman Kresta, Daniel Carlsson and Jani Paaasonen came in 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th, with Subaru new boys, and snow rookies, Chris Atkinson and Stephane Sarrazin 16th and 17th respectively.

A number of these drivers had issues throughout the day, Henning Solberg for example was forced to slow when an oil light came on in his Focus, while Atkinson, went off in the first stage. A host of crews, including Kresta, Carlsson and Mikko Hirvonen, also hit a rock in SS3, resulting in an array of suspension and wheel damage.

In the Group N class, Jukka Ketomaki leads, 21st overall, while Toshi Arai is second on the Group N leaderboard, and also heads the Production Car WRC category, nearly 30 seconds up on Mark Higgins.

The second leg tomorrow [Saturday] starts at 0550hrs, when the first car will leave Karlstad parc ferme.

Following a ten-minute service, crews will contest a further seven stages, based around the single service park in Hagfors, and a competitive distance of 139.53 kilometres. The longest leg of the rally, Leg two also includes the longest stage of the day, the 26.40km test from Lejen. The day will conclude with a final sprint through the 1.85km Hagfors Super Special and a 45-minute scheduled service.