30 Nov 07
Leg One of Wales Rally GB was dominated by just one man - BP-Ford's Mikko Hirvonen - who has won five of today's six stages. The young Finn started the day on a charge winning the first three stages of the day and going into the midday service with a 21.4 lead over his team-mate Marcus Gronholm.
The first stage after the service break, was a tie between Gronholm and Citroen's Sebastien Loeb with Hirvonen finishing third. However, the young Finn went to close the day with two more stage wins on the second run through Resolfen and Rheola. He goes into day two of the rally with a 39.6 second lead over Gronholm who is fighting for the drivers' title against Loeb this weekend.
Loeb is third overall, 18.3 seconds behind second place. He is followed in the classification by Subaru's Petter Solberg who benefited from Jari-Matti Latvala's problems during the last test of the day. The Finn was in fourth place for most of the day until he lost time with broken wipers on his Ford Focus RS as he couldn't see anything on the stage and was forced to stop several times to clean the windscreen.
Solberg is 36.1 seconds behind Loeb and one minute 03.9 seconds ahead of Citroen's Dani Sordo who is fifth, driving a conservative first day.
Stobart's Matthew Wilson is currently sixth overall, two minutes 23.4 seconds behind fifth as he tries to finish the season with a points scoring result on his home event.
Seventh overall went to Subaru's Chris Atkinson, who is celebrating his birthday today. The Australian is only one second behind the young Brit going into leg two.
Rounding out the top eight in the classification was OMV Kronos Citroen's Manfred Stohl, 35.6 seconds behind seventh overall.
Suzuki's Sebastian Lindholm retired from the leg with brake problems in his SX4 WRC, the car's first outing on gravel.
Meanwhile, Stobart's Henning Solberg had problems all day, first with a puncture on the very first stage of the day and then with fogging problems in his windscreen.