Sydney's David Hills leads the Aussie charge in the week-long Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand, holding down 18th place after the first leg of the event.

The Mk1 Escort driver is two places ahead of Keith Callinan and his booming Holden Monaro V8.

Early favourite to head the Aussies, Graham Alexander, crashed his Datsun 260Z (pictured) early in the event and is in 42nd place, one place behind Hills' father, John, in another Escort.

Melbourne's Peter Riseborough is 31st in his Datsun.

Photo courtesy of

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