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BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen lead Rally de Portugal after today’s sun-kissed opening day in the hills above the Algarve. 

After a strong morning in unfavourable conditions, the Finns moved ahead in the afternoon and built a 15 second lead in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.  Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila led initially before rolling 150 metres down a hillside, escaping injury thanks to the strength of their Focus RS.    

Hirvonen finished Leg 1 ahead of Citroen pair Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb, with former World Rally Champion, Marcus Gronholm, fourth in his comeback rally.  Petter Solberg, driving a privately-entered Citroen Xsara, sits in fifth.

Leaderboard after Day 1

1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 24min 12.6sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 24min 27.6sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 24min 30.6sec
4. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Subaru Impreza 1hr 24min 38.5sec
5. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 1hr 24min 54.8sec
6. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 1hr 25min 16.6sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 1hr 25min 27.2sec
8. E Novikov/D Moscatt RUS Citroen C4 1hr 25min 46.3sec
9. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 1hr 25min 46.4sec
10 M Østberg/O Unnerud NOR Subaru Impreza 1hr 26min 54.7sec

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