Sebastien Ogier emerged fastest from the two short street stages that kicked off Rally Mexico on Thursday night.
The ceremonial start was followed by two brief runs on the streets, cobbles and cycle paths of Guanajuato, with SS2 Parque Bicentenario new for 2013.
Thierry Neuville had been quickest in his M-Sport Ford on SS1, before Ogier put his Volkswagen ahead by the completion of SS2.
Neuville dropped back to third, 0.6 seconds down on Ogier, with Mads Ostberg in the sister Ford holding second.
Works Citroen duo Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo complete the top five, just ahead of returnee Chris Atkinson in Khalid Al Qassimi's usual DS3.
Local favourite and 2012 Production champion Benito Guerra was 10th as he began his World Rally Car debut in another Citroen.
Ogier's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala stalled at the start of Parque Bicentenario and finished the night 6.4s adrift in ninth.
Leading positions after SS2: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen 3m19.5s 2. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford + 0.3s 3. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford + 0.6s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 1.1s 5. Dani Sordo Citroen + 1.4s 6. Chris Atkinson Abu Dhabi Citroen + 2.4s 7. Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford + 4.1s 8. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 5.3s 9. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen + 6.4s 10. Benito Guerra CRT Citroen + 7.1s