Solberg began the day badly, when a left-rear driveshaft broke after a heavy landing at the start of SS1. The Norwegian was able to continue to the end of the stage, but dropped nearly one minute on Gronholm. He pressed on in SS2, but conceded another two minutes and was outside the top twenty heading into the first service. Although he made progress thereafter, a gearbox problem in SS4 didn't help his charge, and he now lies nearly six minutes off the lead.
Atkinson also had difficulties in the second Subaru Impreza. He had been running fifth overall until he ran wide one kilometre from the start in Fredriksberg 2 [SS3]. The Aussie hit a snowbank before sliding into a ditch and hitting a tree with the front right-hand corner of his Subaru. The impact damaged the power steering, and although he rejoined he lost more than three minutes in SS3 - and had to muscle his way through SS4, conceding even more time. Atkinson was then given a penalty when he checked out of service B two minutes late after technicians raced to repair the car and replace the power steering rack. He ended the day over 7 minutes off the lead.
Aigner was another one that hit a snowbank in SS3 and left the road. Although he rejoined after spectators helped to lift the car, he lost four minutes.
Hirvonen however was probably the most unfortunate, he had been third since the off, when he was forced out on SS5 two kilometres from the end with an overheating engine. It is not yet not if he will be able to re-start under the SupeRally format, if he does he will be over 10 minutes behind his BP Ford team-mate, Gronholm.
In the Junior World Rally Championship category, Per-Gunnar Andersson heads the field in his Suzuki Swift. P-G is 24.8 seconds up on Patrick Sandell, while Peter Zachrisson completes the JWRC podium, ahead of Urmo Aava and Britain's Guy Wilks.
The second leg Saturday is again based around the Hagfors service park. After re-starting at 07.10 hours [local time], competitors face seven more stages covering 127.80 kilometres. Two of the tests are repeated and the final two are identical to today, comprising the long 39.95 kilometre Vargasen and the short sprint at Hagfors ski stadium. The leg ends at 18.38 hours [local time].