7 May 2010

Petter Solberg leads Rally New Zealand

6:13 pm on 7 May 2010

The Norwegian driver Petter Solberg leads Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland by 1.5 seconds after eight stages on the first day of the Rally of New Zealand.

Solberg was fastest through Northland's Waipu Gorge but the Frenchman Sebastian Ogier was quickest in the second stage in another Citroen and the lead kept changing after that.

The defending champion, Sebastian Loeb, has picked up 15 of the seconds he lost on stage four after sliding his Citroen sideways into a bridge and losing nearly a minute and a half.

The six time world champion and series leader Loeb also moved up one place and is now seventh.

The Spaniard Dani Sordo fourth in a Citroen and another Finn Mikko Hirvonen fifth in a Ford , 20 seconds behind Solberg. Mark Tapper's the best of the New Zealanders in 12th.

The first day finishes with a super special stage in the Auckland Domain this evening before the rally moves to Franklin and Waikato.