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A confident Marcus Gronholm has completed Leg 1 of Rally New Zealand with a lead of over 30 seconds from Ford team mate Mikko Hirvonen, despite a puncture on the first stage of the day.  Gronholm was able to complete the stage before changing the tyre, and continued on to finish the day strongly.

Subaru drivers Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson both suffered from badly handling Imprezas, whilst a spin on stage 1 did nothing to help Aussie Atkinson's chances of pushing for a podium finish.

Austrian Manfred Stohl continues to impress in his OMV Peugeot, and despite overheating problems, finished the day in third place.

Crowd favourite Valentino Rossi, started the day off slowly, but improved his pace throughout the day as his confidence in the Subaru grew.  He finished the Super Special with an impressive performance and 14th fastest time, ending the day in 24th place overall.

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