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Overnight leader Gronholm forges ahead
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-12-03 14:01
Ford's Marcus Gronholm took charge of the season-ending British rally on Saturday after Norwegian rival Petter Solberg skidded into a ditch at the start of the second leg.

Subaru's Solberg, winner for the last four years in the forests of south Wales, got back on the road but lost 30 seconds and was one minute 2.4 seconds adrift of the Finn after three of the day's seven stages.

Austrian Manfred Stohl was in third place after a fierce battle with Solberg, who piled on the pressure after his mistake.

The Peugeot driver had taken second place after the Norwegian, 25.8 seconds behind Gronholm overnight, went off on a crisp and cold morning at the start of Crychan, a 19.47km moorland stage.

"I was trying hard from the start," said Solberg. "I had lots of understeer and made a mistake."

He roared back to within less of a second after stage two and recaptured his position in stage three, 3.8 seconds ahead.

Both world championships have already been decided, with Frenchman Sebastien Loeb taking his third successive drivers' crown in October despite being absent with a broken arm.

Ford clinched their first manufacturers' crown in 27 years last month.

Although Gronholm is a previous winner of what is officially known as the Wales Rally GB, Ford last won what amounts to their home race in 1979 with Finland's Hannu Mikkola.

If Gronholm wins on Sunday, it will be his seventh victory of the year and will allow him to end the championship just one point behind Loeb.



Source:Reuters 
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