Volkswagen driver Jari-Matti Latvala won the qualifying stage for Rally Italy.
The Volkswagen driver's second qualifying win in three rallies gives him the choice of where to run on the road for the opening day of gravel stages on Friday in Sardinia.
Latvala arrives on the Italian island fresh from his first victory in a Polo R WRC in Greece, and that confidence from the Acropolis Rally remained.
"I feel good," said Latvala. "The car is nice, we have no problems. I am feeling confident with things and I like this rally."
M-Sport driver Evgeny Novikov was second in his Ford, 0.690 seconds behind, with Latvala's team-mate and world championship leader Sebastien Ogier third, albeit 1.571s slower over the 2.39-mile stage.
Mikko Hirvonen was top Citroen driver in fourth place. Thierry Neuville took fifth - the Belgian feeling his Fiesta RS WRC was missing some traction under braking.
P-G Andersson was 10th quickest qualifier on his return to World Rally Car driving, while Elfyn Evans was 11th in his first ever qualifying session. Both are driving Fiesta RS WRCs.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jari-Matti Latvala VW 3m12.665s 2. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford 3m13.345s +0.690s 3. Sebastien Ogier VW 3m14.226s +1.571s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen 3m14.397s +1.742s 5. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford 3m14.502s +1.847s 6. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford 3m15.021s +2.366s 7. Dani Sordo Citroen 3m15.396s +2.741s 8. Andreas Mikkelsen VW 3m16.434s +3.779s 9. Martin Prokop Czech Ford 3m17.652s +4.997s 10. PG Andersson AT Ford 3m19.577s +6.922s 11. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford 3m23.344s +10.689s 12. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Ford 3m25.035s +12.380s 13. Khalid Al Qassimi Citroen 3m27.472s +14.817s