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Australians David Hills and David Callaghan, driving a Mk1 Ford Escort, have moved into 10th place in the New Zealand Silver Fern Rally.

The Sydney duo are now two and a half minutes clear of the 11th placed crew, early on Leg 4 of the week-long event in New Zealand's South Island.

Former New Zealand Champion, Brian Stokes, continues to lead the event in his Ford Escort RS Cosworth, over six minutes clear of Stig Blomqvist in a Ford Escort RS1800, but fellow international star, Jimmy McRae, has crashed out of the rally.

During the marathon 71km stage 26, McRae put his Honda Integra Type R off the road and down a bank, where it became wedged against a fence. The Scotsman has temporarily withdrawn from the rally, but under event rules, he can rejoin the rally later on.

Also out of the event are Australians Peter Riseborough and Kaye Kilsby in a Datsun Sunny, who also left the road on the marathon stage. The car lost a wheel, but the crew are okay.

Queenslanders Keith and Mary-Anne Callinan punctured a tyre and damaged the front suspension on their V8 Monaro on the stage and have also temporarily withdrawn.

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