Solberg starts ahead for Stobart in Sweden Super Special
A surprisingly mild Karlstad super special greeted crews on this opening section of day 1 of the Uddeholm Swedish Rally, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship.

It’s the man in orange Henning Solberg who leads the way for the Stobart VK M–Sport Ford rally team finishing tonight in fifth position. Team–mate Gigi Galli sits close behind in sixth while Matthew Wilson put on a good show to beat Estonian Urmo Aava in his heat and finish tonight in eleventh place.

Tonight saw a packed crowd gather for the opening test of the Swedish Rally as they were treated to some high speed, sideways action through the Karlstad trotting track which is more familiar with one horsepower rather than the 300 found in these modern day wonder machines.

Shakedown remained quite icy for competitors despite the fact it was run over a 1.78 kilometre stage in the heart of Karlstad which is burdened by an obvious lack of snow at present. Galli set the pace for the Stobart squad finishing the test as fourth fastest WRC driver but admitted the stage was not hugely representative of the proper high speed tests that follow tomorrow.

Six testing stages will be covered tomorrow before crews head back to Karlstad Rally Village for the final pass over the 1.9 kilometre super special.

Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Team Driver Gigi Galli said:
"It is good to be through the first stage now we can have a good sleep and focus on the real stages which start tomorrow. That was great to see all the people out supporting the WRC drivers tonight even though it was so cold outside. I’m looking forward to the stages tomorrow because we had a good feeling with the car this morning at shakedown."

Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
"The stage was good fun tonight, it would have been nice to have more snow or ice but the spectators were enjoying the action. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as the stages are in reasonable condition and we have made a good recce. I will be trying right from the start, this is a good surface for me so it will be enjoyable. I like the stages here and it is nearly my home event; I know there will be lots of fans from Norway cheering me on."

Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
"It was impressive to see so many spectators here tonight; the atmosphere was electrifying and we had a good race against Urmo Aava. Shakedown went well for us today and it will be good to get onto the real stages tomorrow morning. I would have liked a bit more snow on the stages but the conditions are similar for everyone and we will just have to make the most of it. We have prepared well for the rally and it would be nice to have a good solid start in the morning."

Leaderboard after SS1
1. P Solberg/P Mills 1m28.9sec
2. J–M Latvala/M Anttila +0.5s
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +0.9s
4. S Loeb/D Elena +1.1s
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud +1.5s
6. G Galli/G Bernacchini +2.0s
=. P G Andersson/J Andersson +2.0s
8. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen +3.2s
9. M Ostberg/O Unnerud +4.1s
10. A Mikkelsen/O Floene +4.5s
11. M Wilson/S Martin +5.5s

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