31 Jul 2010

Early leader Hirvonen crashes in Finland

9:09 am on 31 July 2010

Early leader Mikko Hirvonen made a dramatic exit from the first leg of the Rally of Finland on Friday when he rolled his Ford in a heavy crash on the fourth stage.

The Finn and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen escaped injury, with the car rolling several times on a right-hand corner that the driver had previously described as one of his favourites.

Hirvonen, third in the championship behind the Citroen pairing of Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier, won his home rally last year.

Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala heads the leaderboard on his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship and, at the end of the first of only two days of competition, the Ford driver holds a 9.1 second advantage.

Norwegian Petter Solberg finished the day in second position with Sébastien Ogier, nominated for the Citroën Total World Rally Team on this event, third overall.