All three Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers set times in the top six during the day with Jani taking fifth fastest on the opening stage of the rally and second fastest on SS5.
After several days worrying that the only snow rally of the World Rally Championship would run without any snow at all, the weather changed 24 hours before the start and turned the Värmland region into a winter wonderland.
Although there were no snow banks the roads were lined instead with thousands of enthusiastic spectators, braving the sub-zero temperatures.
The only technical problem to affect the team came at the mid-day service halt when a wheel stud sheared on Janis car as it was just about to leave service. It was necessary to fit a new wheel hub and despite the best efforts of the Škoda Motorsport mechanics, Jani inevitably left service two minutes late, receiving a 20 second penalty.
Tomorrows leg features seven stages that are located east and west of Hagfors. Two of them are close to those used on the Minne Rally where Mattias had his first competitive experience of the Fabia WRC two weeks ago. It is the longest leg of the event with 139.53kms of stages in a total route of 544.22kms.
This was a good first day although there were a couple of mistakes but they were my own fault.. I have been able to attack with confidence and I managed to set some competitive times so I have every reason to think I can go well again tomorrow.
I drove too cautiously at times today and was a little bit delayed behind Mikko Hirvonen on SS3. This afternoon the stages were much worse than I expected with a lot of gravel. I had some gear selection problems on the last stage tonight but otherwise Im quite happy with the performance and Im looking forward to tomorrow.
I stalled the Fabia WRC twice in the first two stages which was a bit frustrating as it stopped me setting three fast times instead of just one. I went off the road briefly on the last real stage and you cant afford to make mistakes on this rally as the time gaps are so small that even a little problem means you lose a lot of places. The second fastest time showed just what is possible.
(Head of Škoda Motorsport):
Today started very well for us and Janis time on SS5 was a high point. However, we made too many mistakes this afternoon and our overall result was compromised because of it. Nevertheless we still have all three Fabia WRCs in the rally and there is every reason to be optimistic that we can continue with our good performance tomorrow.