Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen will take and advantage in to Friday after finishing top if the times on the opening street stage of the Rally of Spain.
Mikkelsen took a gamble with tyres and chose to scrub his gravel tyres during the stage in a bid to gain advantage on the asphalt roads.
The Norwegian ended the 3.2km stage 1.8 seconds ahead of team-mate and championship leader Sebastien Ogier with the hard charging Belgian Thierry Neuville in third place.
Neuville’s pace has been promising already, having finished top of the timesheet in the shakedown, but he did admit that he lost half a second when he attempted a donut in second gear rather than first.
Local hero Dani Sordo finished the stage in fourth place but complained of a lack of power exiting tight hairpin bends.
Jari-Matti Latvala ended the stage in fifth place with Kris Meeke rounding out the top six.
Ken Block got off to a bad start and could only manage fifteenth place after swiping the barriers on cold tyres.
In WRC2 Sebastien Chardonnet lead the way with thirteenth overall while Max Vatanen lead the way in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy with an impressive twenty-second place overall.
Top 10 stage times
A. Mikkelsen 3:39.1
S. Ogier +1.8s
T. Neuville +2.9s
D. Sordo +3.6s
K. Meeke +4.0s
M. Osberg +4.6s
M. Hirvonen +5.9s
M. Prokop +7.2s
H. Paddon +8.4s