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Stobart VK M-Sport Ford drivers Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson made a strong start to Neste Oil Rally Finland, the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, as they kicked off the event at the traditional opening Super Special Stage at the Killeri trotting track. 

Thousands of fanatical Finnish rally fans packed the arena to watch the 90 starters racing head-to-head over the 2.06km course.
Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud enjoyed a good shakedown this morning and were raring to go tonight as they were again pitted against Petter Solberg.  On the opening blast around the track Henning’s Ford Focus RS was edged out by just 0.1 seconds by his brother to finish the stage in equal seventh place.
Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin used this morning’s shakedown to reconfirm the settings that they had found during pre-rally testing early this week.  The Brits were very happy with the recce prior to the rally and had a comfortable start to the event lying just 2.2 seconds behind the leaders in 13th place overall.
Tomorrow the crews head to north-west of Jyväskylä  for 128.78kms of high-speed, competitive action over nine stages.  They will tackle a loop of four stages twice with the opening day culminating in a second visit to the Killeri trotting track.
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:
“That was good fun, I love super special stages like this where there are lots of fans; everyone loves rallying here and its brilliant for us to be able to put on a good show for them.  We had a good race with Petter and he was only a tenth of a second quicker so it is sure to be a good battle this weekend.  Everything went well for us on the recce, I love these stages here and hopefully we have some good notes for the new stages; they are very fast and will be great fun.  We had a nice recce also and everything worked perfectly.”
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
“We had a really confident recce and were able to make a few positive changes to our pacenotes from some things that we learnt in Poland.  That was important for us and I’m hoping they will be slightly better here.  The new stages here this year are so quick and will definitely be a big challenge for everyone.  The stage tonight was great fun and, as always, the atmosphere here in Killeri was fantastic.  It’s a great way to start off the rally but I’m looking forward to the real stages tomorrow morning.”
Leaderboard after SSS1
1. S Loeb/D Elena (FRA)                         Citroën C4               1m20.3s
2. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP)                        Citroën C4               +0.1s
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen(FIN)                 Ford Focus RS          +0.9s
4=. E Novikov/D Moscatt (RUS)               Citroën C4               +1.2s
4=. S Ogier/J Ingrassia (FRA)                  Citroën C4               +1.2s
6. P Solberg/P Mills (NOR)                       Citroën Xsara           +1.4s
7=. J-M Latvala/M Anttila (FIN)                Ford Focus RS          +1.5s
7=. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR)        Ford Focus RS         +1.5s
9. J Ketomaa/M Stenberg (FIN)               Subaru Impreza       +1.7s
10. M Rantanen/M Lukka (FIN)                Ford Focus RS          +1.9s
13. M Wilson/S Martin (GB)                    Ford Focus RS         +2.2s

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