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SUV Bite - Can't Open A4 Hood

Perhaps it was the 1st Prize in "German Other." Perhaps it was because
the wife just chastised my aggressive driving style and I blew it off.
Perhaps it was because I was being a doofus and not paying attention.
The fact of the matter is, I kissed a Suzuki SUV last Saturday night in
heavy traffic on the way to a wedding when it slammed on its brakes in
the middle of an intersection and I - in the midst of a conversation
with SWMBO - caught it almost in time, but not quite.

There were no marks on the SUV or on the A4 bumper, but the SUV's
externally mounted tire put two creases in the top front of the A4 hood,
about 2" long, marking the outside radius of the tire. I wanted to die.
The wife turned on the frosters and things were miserable for the
remainder of the weekend.

The damage to the hood appears to be limited to the two dents, but I
can't open it to look for more. It pops up when the inside latch is
pulled, but the plastic tang that comes out of the four rings and
releases the safety catch is bound up by the deformity in the hood. It
comes partially out, but will not travel the distance needed to actuate
the safety release.

Are there any A4 owners out there who have some advise? I am reluctant
to use too much force. Is there a way of manipulating the linkage from
the outside with a long tool? Any suggestions welcome. Once I get the
hood open, I still have to deal with the dents and a possible paint job.
How successful are the repair places in matching pearl?

With head hanging down,

Douglas in Minnesota
A4 1.8 tqm, sport, pearl, dented