Markko Martin Retired, Duval Chasing Hard
On stage three, Markko Martin and Micheal Park retired when their Ford Focus left the road and they were unable to re-join the track. A disappointing start as Martin was only one point behind championship leader, Citroen's Sebastian Loeb.
Francois Duval and Stephane Prevot pushed hard and took a stage win to finish the first day in third place, less than 6 seconds behind the Puegeot of Rovampera. Solberg in the Subaru holds a good lead of 55 seconds.
Some consolation Ford can take away is that the two cars ahead are not close challengers in the constructors championship.
Leg two starts this evening Australian time, this is a rally Ford have dominated over the last four years. Markko Martin won it last year, McRae has won it three consecutive times with the Focus, in 2000, 2001, and 2002. It's now up to Duval to prove his speed and keep the winning tradition of Ford at this place!
Photos from www.rally-live.com