Rally Finland: Sebastien Ogier holds narrow lead on first morning

Sebastien Ogier established a small Rally Finland lead over Volskwagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala by the end of Friday morning

Rally Finland: Sebastien Ogier holds narrow lead on first morning

The VW pair spent the first loop of stages locked in battle with Citroen's Kris Meeke, who assumed the lead - by just one tenth of a second over Latvala - after the day's opener.

Latvala was quickest of all on that stage, but Meeke's strong time on Thursday night's superspecial was sufficient to put him briefly into first overall.

Ogier then took charge, though. A trio of stage wins through the rest of the morning meant he completed the loop with a 5.3s advantage over Latvala.

Meeke stayed in touch at first, but he ended the Ouninpohja stage concerned that his Citroen was developing a transmission problem and he is now 10.6s off the lead in third place.

Citroen has two cars in the top four, with Mads Ostberg moving up from a quiet early seventh place to fourth with a strong time through Ouninpohja.

In the process he overhauled Hayden Paddon's Hyundai and benefitted from problems for M-Sport Ford pair Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans.

A broken damper for Tanak and suspension damage for Evans left both limping through the stages on a day with only a tyre change at the halfway point rather than a full service.

That lack of chance to effect repairs could also hurt Robert Kubica, though for now he is running sixth overall.

He holds that position despite a sensor problem putting him in front-wheel-drive mode for some of the first stage, a puncture at the end of the next one and then a developing alternator issue on his RK Ford.

While Paddon holds fifth, Hyundai's other two drivers have struggled for confidence and are off the pace.

Dani Sordo is currently just ahead of Thierry Neuville - who felled a tree in a massive shakedown crash on Thursday - as they run an increasingly distant seventh and eighth.

Andreas Mikkelsen was running similarly hesitantly in the third VW until crashing on the short Himos stage when running only sixth.

With Tanak and Evans in trouble, M-Sport's leading contender is returnee Juho Hanninen.

The former factory Hyundai driver is making a one-off return in a Ford Fiesta and runs ninth.

M-Sport had also intended to run an extra entry for Russian champion Aleksey Lukyanuk, who had shocked the European Rally Championship field a fortnight ago by winning Rally Estonia outright in a Production class Mitsubishi.

But a huge accident while testing the Ford World Rally Car earlier this week caused too much damage for Lukyanuk to make the event.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS5:

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