Ott Tänak showed his intentions early on Rally Germany with an opening stage win on Thursday evening.
The Toyota driver secured a 0.8 seconds victory over Hyundai’s Dani Sordo on the rally opening 5.2km test with shakedown winner Sebastien Ogier a further tenth of a second behind in third.
Thierry Neuville, currently sitting third in the Drivers Standings set the fourth fastest time but just one second behind Tänak out in front as the asphalt event got underway with the St. Wendeler stage.
Kris Meeke finished ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, with the two Toyota men rounding out the top six ahead of Teemu Suninen and Esapekka Lappi who both had identical times on the short opener.
Andres Mikkelsen, Gus Greensmith and top-level debutant Takamoto Katsuta completed the WRC runners with WRC2 PRO championship leader Kalle Rovanperä leading Skoda teammate Jan Kopecký in the R5 entrants.
Fabian Kreim on his home event was fastest of the WRC2 drivers, as he finished the stage ahead of ex-Citroen factory driver Stéphane Lefebvre. Mads Ostberg in the PRO entered C3 R5, Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin and Nicolas Ciamin completed the top 20 overall.
Friday on Rally Germany sees a total of six stages with two loops of three repeated twice totaling 106.62km.