Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak won five out of seven of Friday's stages at his home race, in the process bouncing back from a time penalty imposed Thursday, and breaking into the top 10 in the table.
The result pushed Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja, in the M-Sport Ford Puma, up to 11th overall at day's end, a great improvement on the five-minute deficit put in place after the WRC regulations required a time penalty as a result of the changed engine.
That switch had happened after the Thursday morning shakedown run, ahead of Thursday evening's opening stage proper.
The rally takes place in and around Tartu and Otepää.
After the end of the first full day's stages, Tänak said: "Coming into the afternoon, it had been quite difficult for us, but on the second stage we were able to improve a bit. We experienced some technical problems, and we couldn't race with the setup we had planned for."
"The last two stages [of Friday] went more smoothly, they were both good. Tomorrow we will be the first of the road stages, while we hear it is also set to be a dry day, which actually won't help.
Reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä (Finland, Toyota) topped the table after Friday's stages, while Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) was in second place.
Just three seconds separated the pair (see leaderboard below).
Tänak won three speed tests scheduled in the morning and the remainder after lunch; Rovanperä also took two post-lunch stages after some heavy dueling with Neuville.
Other Estonians competing included Egon Kaur, Georg Linnamäe and Robert Virves all made it into the top 10 in the second-tier WRC2 class.
The rally continues Saturday with nine more stages and is already underway at the time of writing.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Anders Nõmm
Source: ERR Sport