Dani Sordo was the man to catch after the first day of the Rally Argentina after he won a thrilling battle with Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb on the opening leg.
Sordo, Loeb, Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala all had spells in the lead in a nailbiting contest.
Sordo and Hirvonen were joint first at the end of SS8 but the Citroen Total driver established a five-second overnight lead in day one’s final stage.
The Spaniard finished with a time of one hour 45 minutes 11.3 seconds, 5.1 in front of Hirvonen and 16.3 ahead of Loeb.
Latvala eventually finished sixth after suffering a puncture on SS6, behind Petter Solberg in fourth and Stobart Ford’s Henning Solberg in fifth.
Sordo said: “It’s really nice, a really good feeling. I’m very happy and really comfortable with the car.”
Solberg was delighted with his performance today and revealed his 2005 vintage Citroen Xsara is exceeding his expectations.
“I’ve been pushing over the limit,” he said. “This is the type of rally you can attack very hard.
“I never thought I could be so quick in this car. In general, I’m very pleased.
“I just have to be there and see if anyone makes a small mistake.”
Latvala had contrasting fortunes, though, and was left to rue the puncture which lost him precious time.
“After one of the jumps we got a puncture and that cost us about 55 seconds,” he said.
“I don’t really know what happened, but we ended up doing about half of the stage with the tyre going down slowly.”
Seventh and eighth places went to Ford duo Matthew Wilson and Federico Villagra respectively, while Citroen completed the top 10 with Sebastien Ogier ninth and Conrad Rautenbach 10th.