Sebastien Ogier holds a solid lead over Volkswagen teammate Jari-Mati Latvala after the opening day of Rally Germany, which started close but opened out as the day wore on.
After a mighty battle in the morning’s early stages between the pair, Ogier took control from SS4 and then extended his lead to 9.5s by the close of play.
He made a huge gain on the penultimate stage of the day, the re-run of Moselland that Latvala had been quickest through this morning, and virtually doubled his advantage on that test alone.
Ogier ended the day having won seven of the eight stages.
“I drove better than this morning,” said Ogier, who admitted he was too cautious on the first run. “Not a perfect stage, but if I manage to beat Jari-Matti here I will be pleased – normally he can't be beaten here.”
Latvala admitted: "I can't really go any faster for the moment. I'm doing all I can.
"I did not have the best feeling this afternoon – that's it."
The third VW of Andreas Mikkelsen is holding a watching brief in third. His closest challenger was Citroen’s Kris Meeke, who threw away fourth place with an off in SS6 that dropped him outside the top 10.
To compound Meeke’s error, a front suspension strut broke 5km later as a consequence, forcing him to limp through the following stages.
The Hyundais of Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville were promoted to fourth and fifth respectively. Neuville got ahead briefly of Sordo on the penultimate stage of the day, only for the Spaniard to grab it back on the final test.