Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg is sitting in the points in seventh position after the opening morning of Rally Finland while team-mate Matthew Wilson has climbed up to tenth place after a tricky start to the day.
After the traditional opening Super Special Stage
at the Killeri trotting track last night, 90 crews headed north-west of the Rally HQ in Jyvaskyla to take on two four-stage loops over the famed Finnish forest roads.
Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud have held on to the seventh place that they occupied after the opening Super Special Stage last night. On the opening stage of the day, the 22.29km Jukojarvi, Solberg lost ground on the leaders as he struggled on the slippery forest roads. But he clawed his way back into a points position with solid times on the remaining stages.
Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin are sitting just outside the points after struggling to find grip on the loose surface of the morning stages. But, after lying in 13th place overnight, the Brits have done well to climb up the field. The Stobart team will stiffen the springs on Wilson's car during service to make the car more precise for the afternoon stages.
With minor changes made to both Ford Focus RS WRCs the crews will head back out to tackle the same loop of stages this afternoon.
With some of the loose surface cleared after the morning stages, times are expected to be even faster than during the first pass.
We're trying hard but the stages have been a bit more loose than what we expected and they are very slippery now. I am not very happy with my times so far this morning but there is no problem with the car, it's just me. We will work at it though and try to improve the feeling for this afternoon.
It's been quite a difficult morning and a hard start to the rally. The first stage was very slippery with quite a bit of loose which meant the grip wasn't good and it's not the best kind of conditions to try and build up confidence in Finland. But the others went fine, we got into a good flow and we've had a clean start to the rally; the only issue was when we had to slow down at Petter's accident.