WRC points leader instantly on top as he seeks sixth win in nine rallies and title.
Sebastien Ogier goes into Friday’s Rally Germany stages already with a small lead over his rivals after dominating the opening action on Thursday evening.
Ogier, who could clinch the World Rally Championship’s drivers’ title this weekend, won both opening stages to build a 5.7 second lead over VW team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
Thierry Neuville, tied for second in the points table with Latvala, held third place in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta. His team-mate Evgeny Novikov, however, had crashed out just 1.5km into the first stage – the Russian’s third major off in as many rallies.
Former Formula One star Robert Kubica, more at home on an asphalt surface, starred early on to be fastest of the WRC2 category runners on both stages in his Citroen DS3.
Friday’s six stages total 132km of competitive timed kilometres.