Organisers of the Network Q Rally of Great Britain have been forced to cancel Special Stage 4 - Brechfa - due to safety concerns.

Reports suggest that spectators' cars have been left in inappropriate locations throughout the 23.12 km stage and as such conditions, were deemed unsafe. Competitors have thus driven the stage at road speed.

Clerk of the Course Fred Gallagher, told the media: "SS4 has been cancelled on the recommendation of the FIA Safety Delegate due to the pressure of spectators."

This is the first time in the events history that a stage has been cancelled prior to it even starting. It is also bad news for the organisers, as the event is only provisional on the 2003 WRC calendar, subject to "observers' reports" on this year's event.

The rally will now resume with SS5 - Trawscoed (27.97 kms), - at 12.08 local time.

Currently Marcus Gronholm leads the rally for Peugeot, by a commanding 29.5 seconds. Markko Martin is second for Ford and Subaru's Petter Solberg is third.

Leading Brits Colin McRae and Richard Burns have both started badly, McRae went off the road in SS2 and lost over 1 minute, while Burns went off in SS3. The Englishman damaged the exhaust in the process and consequently, later lost the turbo boost. McRae is tenth overall and Burns 12th.

Daniel Sola leads the JWRC with fellow Citroen driver, Janne Tuohino second. Niall McShea completes the top three 'Junior' runners, with Andrea Dallavilla fourth and MG's Gwyndaf Evans fifth.

WRC rookie and former F1 driver Mark Blundell is still in the running, 75th overall out of 80 runners, while MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has retired, he went off in SS2.