Markko Martin [Ford]:

"I took care early this morning and just needed a couple of stages to settle into the rally. The Focus has been reliable all day. The only problem was a driver one when I stalled the engine at the start of the second stage but we didn't lose much time. The two Granberget stages were really good fun, in fact the whole day has been enjoyable. This morning we were the second car through the stage and there were no lines or ruts from other cars so I was able to play with the car a little and choose exactly the line that I wanted. To be first with a lead of more than 20sec is better than I expected."

Sebastien Loeb [Citroen]:

"I'm very pleased. I had a good day today, better then last year - we have had no problems. I'm impressed by Markko Martins' driving though. It doesn't matter if it's snowing tomorrow."

Petter Solberg [Subaru]:

"It's been an incredible day, much better that I expected. I've never done well here before so I'm very happy. We had no real problems today just the spin earlier, but that's just part of the game. Since then, it's been perfect. Out on the stages there's an incredible atmosphere - I've never seen so many Norwegian flags. The conditions suit my driving and if it stays the same tomorrow, I'll do my best to beat Markko and Sebastien."

Carlos Sainz [Citroen]:

"The biggest problem today was too long studs. We will see what happens tomorrow."

Janne Tuohino [Ford]

"We made no mistakes although maybe we were too sideways in places on the second stage this morning. I drove at maximum speed but didn't take any risks. I call it safety speed and everything has gone normally. It's not a bad position to be the leading Finn on a winter rally. I will try to go a little faster tomorrow and brake a little less but I must be careful because the Focus has more potential than I know about."

Marcus Gronholm [Peugeot]:

"It was really hard work [when the power steering went in SS3], but I knew I had to keep on pushing. I tried to limit the time loss as much as possible, but we still ended up losing a minute. It makes life difficult, but we're certainly not giving up. We still have some good chances to do well."

Mikko Hirvonen [Subaru]:

"It's been a perfect day, especially if you don't count the second run through Granberget! We lost quite lot of time there. I stalled at a junction and got stuck behind Panizzi, but overall my confidence has risen and it feels very good. Like a lot of rallies this year, my main priority is experience, but of course I'm still going to push when I am able so we'll just see what's possible tomorrow."

Francois Duval [Ford]:

"It was good fun to drive on these roads and the conditions were better than we expected. The roads were about 70 per cent gravel on the first two stages but the lack of ice and snow hasn't altered the way I drive. We worked hard on perfecting our pace notes on the first pass through Granberget and that showed because they were fantastic on the second run. We were much quicker than our first attempt when all the other leading drivers were slower. I had a good feeling with the Focus but like everyone else I am concerned about what the rain will do to the roads we use tomorrow."

Freddy Loix [Peugeot]:

"It's been a very frustrating day for me. In the morning, I lost time on the slower corners as I didn't have a good feeling with the back end of the car. We made some changes and I thought I was driving well, but when I saw the times I was disappointed. We need to think very carefully about why this is happening and try to find a solution."

Kristian Sohlberg [Mitsubishi]

"Five kilometres before the finish of the second stage I started to brake and the wheels just locked up. We went off the road and got stuck in a snow bank. All in all it has been a tough day and it taught me a lot."

Notable retirements:

Gilles Panizzi [Mitsubishi]: [retired in SS4 - mechanical]

"We had a problem this morning with fifth gear, so the team changed the gearbox after the second stage. Then we had a problem with fourth in the second 'box and we put the original one back in the car. But then two kilometres before the end of the fourth stage we had more problems, had to stop and then the car wouldn't re-start. Our aim was always to get to the finish so we can learn more information about the car, so from that point of view it is a shame."

Team Principals:

Malcolm Wilson [Ford Rallye Sport - team director]:

"Our cars are where I expected them to be had the conditions been consistent. But the roads have been so variable and unpredictable that I'm even more delighted with the way the day has gone. Markko drove superbly on both occasions in the long stage, Janne has driven sensibly to end the day inside the top six and Francois showed how much he has learned about his pace notes when you compare his times through the long stage."

David Lapworth [Subaru World Rally Team - team principal]:

"It's been a very satisfying day. The boys have both kept out of trouble, kept a good solid pace and both cars have been 100 per cent reliable. We're exactly where we wanted to be at the end of the first Leg, but there is still a lot more of this rally to go, and with the weather we're expecting tomorrow anything can happen."

Mario Fornaris [Mitsubishi - technical director]:

"After the successful result in Monte-Carlo we are learning another new chapter in our comeback. The conditions here are much harder and give us another challenge; we lost Gilles with gearbox problems but Kristian is still here and can get more data for the team and experience for himself."

 

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