Rally Poland: Ott Tanak leads for M-Sport ahead of Volkswagens

Ott Tanak established himself in an early Rally Poland lead on Friday in the strongest World Rally Championship performance yet for M-Sport's new Ford

Rally Poland: Ott Tanak leads for M-Sport ahead of Volkswagens

Running 11th on the road helped Tanak, but he comfortably outpaced all the others that were benefiting from cleaner conditions, as well as the championship leaders who were at the head of the field.

He soon overcame Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen - who topped the day's opener - and then pulled away.

Despite some worries over the car's brakes, Tanak completed the morning with a 9.3-second overall lead.

World champion Sebastien Ogier has hung on well considering his position of first on the road - he holds third, 16.7s off the lead and 7.4s behind team-mate Mikkelsen.

Ogier swapped that position with the third VW of Jari-Matti Latvala a few times during the morning before the Finn dropped 6.1s behind with slower times on the last two stages of the loop.

A tight battle is raging behind, with Kris Meeke and Hayden Paddon each leading it at times.

Meeke held fifth in his Citroen heading for the regroup, just ahead of the Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Paddon.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica is also in the thick of this scrap, running eighth just ahead of Elfyn Evans.

Although he soon fell back from his overnight second place following the superspecial, Kubica spent the whole morning between sixth and eighth.

Dani Sordo completed the top 10, while Mads Ostberg struggled for pace in the second Citroen and is a distant 11th.

AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live's Rally Poland coverage resumes from 1.15pm UK time

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS5:

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Rally Poland: Sebastien Ogier beats Robert Kubica on opening stage

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Rally Poland: Ogier leads after brake problems halt Tanak's charge

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