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Rain and slippery conditions during today’s shakedown session for the weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei didn’t slow Finland’s Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm, the pair set fastest time in their MRF Tyres Skoda Fabia S2000.
 
The chance for teams contesting this weekend’s two-day event over roads in the Whangarei and Kaipara districts to check their car’s setup was held over the 1.25km super special stage at Whangarei’s William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island.
 
Completing the course in a fastest time of 1min02.9sec, Lappi’s team-mate Gaurav Gill in the second MRF Tyres Skoda was second fastest with a time of 1min03.5sec while young Kiwi competitor Sloan Cox was third fastest with a time of 1min04.3sec. Lappi, completed five runs while many others, including Hayden Paddon, opted to do one quick check.

Queenslanders, Bruce Fullerton and Hugh Reardon-Smith, were an impressive fifth fastest in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
 
The opening round for the 2013 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, today’s conditions are expected to be an extreme according to the weekend’s forecast. Today’s heavy rain is predicted to reduce to showery spells for the remainder of the weekend, leaving much of the region’s 16 special stages in prime condition for the weekend’s action.

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