Ford and Latvala lead in Sweden as Fiesta dominates top six
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|Ford World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila led Rally Sweden after a demanding opening day's competition on snow and ice-covered roads. The Finns lead this second round of the FIA World Rally Championship by 16.8sec in a Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car, with team-mates Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson in third.
The team won four of the 10 speed tests, Latvala and Solberg taking two victories each. Ford has won the last five fixtures at the championship's only true winter encounter, and the Fiesta RS WRC, which claimed a clean sweep of the podium in Sweden last year, holds five of the top six places.
The rally began last night with a spectacular curtain-raising special stage around the trotting track in the rally base of Karlstad. After a 05.00 restart this morning, competitors journeyed north-west of the city to tackle the bulk of the day's action over the border in Norway. The final two tests, including a repeat of the Karlstad stage, were back in Sweden, generating 144.66km of competition.
Temperatures hovered around -10ºC, enough to guarantee full winter conditions, but not cold enough to ensure the roads were pure ice. That encouraged both Latvala, fastest in the WRC's first ever qualifying session yesterday, and Solberg to select start positions well down the order, with the aim of obtaining better conditions after the loose snow had been swept away.