Volkswagen driver Jari-Matti Latvala has finished the first day of running at Rally Australia leading the way from Citroen’s Kris Meeke.
With reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier hampered by being first on the road for much of the day, Meeke took the opportunity to launch into an early lead after the first loop of stages this morning.
But with dust playing havoc for drivers later in the running order for the second loop, Latvala was able to charge into an overnight lead with a stunning run over the first three stages of the afternoon, enough to give him a 2s lead over Meeke.
"This morning I didn't have the spark and lacked the last two per cent to attack, but I attacked in the first three afternoon stages," said Latvala.
"In the last stage I didn't have the best feeling because my tyres were used.
"I calculated if I didn't lose more than five seconds I'd be happy. I dropped only 4.7sec to Ogier, but was faster than Meeke."
After a tough morning, Ogier fought back on the last stage of the day, closing in on Meeke and Latvala to be just 2.6s behind second, and 4.6s off the lead by the close of play.
Andreas Mikkelsen currently sits fourth in the third Volkswagen, ahead of the Hyundai trio of Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon, and Thierry Neuville.
Ott Tänak is the best of the Fords back in eighth.