Round six of this year's World Rally Championship (WRC) takes in Sardinia this weekend. Estonia's Ott Tänak (M-Sport) is in second place after the opening stage on Thursday evening, 0.2 seconds behind leader Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai) of Finland.
Lappi posted the quickest time in Thursday morning's 2.87 kilometer shakedown, finishing in 1 minute 45.9 seconds. His Belgian teammate Thierry Neuville was second (+0.6 seconds), followed by M-Sport's Pierre-Louis Loubet and Toyota's Sebastien Ogier, both of France, who shared third place (+1.2 seconds).
The top seven was completed by Spain's Dani Sordo (Hyundai; +1.5 seconds) and the Toyota due of Finland's Kalle Rovanperä (+1.7 seconds) and Japan's Takamoto Katsuta (+1.8 seconds).
Estonia's Ott Tänak finished eighth overall in the shakedown, 2.0 seconds behind Lappi.
The Finn was fastest once again in Thursday evening's opening stage, posting a time of 2 minutes 24.59 seconds. Tänak trails the Finn by 0.2 seconds after stage 1, with Thierry Neuville in third (+0.5 seconds).
The Belgian was followed by the Toyota trio of Katsuta (+0.9 seconds), Rovanperä (+1.2 seconds) and Ogier (+1.3 seconds).
Stage 2 gets underway at 9.40 a.m. on Friday (Estonian time), with Tänak looking to make up ground on the race leader.
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Editor: Michael Cole