Former Peugeot driver Daniel Carlsson, starting the event in a Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 following the unanimous agreement of all competitors, set the pace at the event's shakedown, claiming the fastest time of the morning. There were no further surprises or problems as the field prepared for the start in temperatures around -4 degrees C and in plenty of snow.
"I have taken Harri Rovenpera's base settings for the car and they feel perfect for me," said Carlsson. "This is the first time I've driven the Lancer and it's a little different from what I'm used to; you need to be a little more aggressive, for example, but still very progressive. I'm hoping for a clean rally this weekend and we will see what we can do."
Second fastest in the morning was Manfrend Stohl in the OMV Peugeot 307, closely followed by Mikko Hirvonen in the Ford Focus WRC06. "After our pre-Christmas test, I did three days testing on gravel last week and that's helped me get used to the car on loose surfaces," said Hirvonen. "But then, it's always a shock to come here, with the high speeds. This morning was very good and the car feels excellent. The traction is very good, so now we need more power! But then, every driver will always want more power!"
Team-mate Marcus Gronholm, looking for his second win of the season with the Ford team, used the morning to re-familiarise himself with the Focus on snow. "I did not need to do many runs to know the car was ready. The stages are in almost perfect condition for the rally. There is plenty of snow and the prediction is for it to get colder. I expect to lose perhaps a little time on the first couple of stages, being first on the road but hopefully it won't be too bad."
Frenchman Sebastian Loeb was also on form at the shakedown, underlining his determination to break the Scandinavian stranglehold on winning this event. "The stages are in very good condition but the snow-banks at the side of the road are quite small and soft. So it is very important to stay on the road and be precise. Marcus and Mattias Ekstrom were very fast this morning, so I will have to push hard from the beginning if I want success."
The Solberg brothers, Petter and Henning, set identical times in their Subaru Impreza WRC06 and Peugeot 307WRC respectively. Petter carried out just a couple of runs, checking settings from a development test while team-mate Chris Atkinson had one more run, to familiarise himself with the same settings
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