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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Martin quick off the mark
Martin is attempting to become the third non-Scandinavian to win in Finland
Martin is attempting to become only the third non-Scandinavian to win the Rally of Finland
Estonia's Markko Martin heads the standings after day one of the Rally of Finland.

Driving a Ford, Martin clocked one minute 18.6 seconds over the 2.05km opening stage to open up a 0.4-second advantage over world champion Marcus Gronholm in a Peugeot.

Subaru's Petter Solberg of Norway was 0.2secs further back in third place.

The stage had to be stopped for about 30 minutes before the favourites set off after Lebanon's Abdo Feghali crashed.

Only two non-Scandinavians have ever won the rally, which is the fastest on the world championship circuit.

Drivers average speeds of 120kph and regularly exceed 200kph.

Gronholm is looking for his fourth straight victory in his home rally but is only third in the championship standings.


Leading placings after Thursday's first stage:

1 Markko Martin (Est) Ford one minute 18.6 seconds
2 Marcus Gronholm (Fin) Peugeot 0.4 seconds behind
3 Petter Solberg (Nor) Subaru 0.6
4 Francois Duval (Bel) Ford 0.7
5 Sebastien Loeb (Fra) Citroen 0.8
6 Richard Burns (GB) Peugeot 0.9
7 Harri Rovanpera (Fin) Peugeot 0.9
8 Colin McRae (GB) Citroen 1.1
9 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Citroen 1.3
10 Tommi Makinen (Fin) Subaru 1.6




WORLD RALLY 2003

THIS YEAR'S RALLIES


TEAMS & DRIVERS PROFILED
 


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