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In what is proving to be a tougher event than they anticipated, several of the leading cars struck problems during Friday's fifth leg of the NZ Silver Fern Rally.

Brian Stokes continues to lead the seven day event in his Ford Escort Cosworth, despite having his first hiccup on the event. Stokes came out of the 35th stage of the event, near Chevoit, with the engine billowing smoke.  Fortunately for him, the cancellation of two of the days stages meant extra service time, and his team were able to repair the problem, a broken exhaust connection to the turbo, which had spewed oil onto the hot engine causing the smoke.

Swede Stig Blomqvist holds second place, whilst third placed Joe McAndrew's Honda Integra Type R had  gear selector problems all day, and he was planning to make repairs overnight. 

Garry Adcock was the biggest loser of the day, dropping five places after his car caught fire in the 39th stage near Blenheim.  Luckily a number of other drivers came to his rescue, and with three extinguishers the fire was put out.  He was also hoping to make repairs overnight.

Englishman Francis Tuthill rolled his Porsche, whilst Jimmy McRae, who crashed on Thursday, is making his way back up the field and lies in 45th place.  52 cars are still classified int he event.

The rally finishes in Blenheim today (Saturday).

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