Sebastien Ogier wins Rally Italy opening stage
World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier set the pace on Thursday evening's Rally Italy curtain-raiser.
The Volkswagen driver completed the 1.2-mile Ittiri Arena stage, based at a motocross track, in 2m00.4s while winning his head-to-head run against Hayden Paddon's Hyundai by 1.3 seconds.
Ogier's time denied DMACK a chance to lead a WRC event, as Ott Tanak was the early pacesetter among the World Rally Car contingent in his Ford Fiesta.
Tanak had to settle for joint second with Jari-Mati Latvala, both 0.3s down on Ogier.
Hyundai's junior driver Kevin Abbring was the best of the i20s in fourth, followed by the third VW of Andreas Mikkelsen.
WRC2 leader Teemu Suninen got into the overall top 10 in ninth, with Mads Ostberg in 10th with more harder tyres than rivals as he conserved softs for Friday.
Follow Rally Italy as it happens with Autosport Race Centre Live from 8.30am UK time on Friday