1 Nov 2008

Hirvonen commands first day of Rally of Japan

5:23 pm on 1 November 2008

The Finnish rally driver Mikko Hirvonen is in command after the first day of the Rally of Japan.

The Ford Focus driver clocked the fastest time in six of the weather-hit special stages.

Heavy snow forced organisers to cancel the third and seventh stages and the eighth stage also fell by the wayside after an accident on stage six caused delays.

Hirvonen leads his compatriot and team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala by 26 seconds.

Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb of France is third, a further four seconds back.