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WRC Rally Germany: Mikkelsen leads Ogier and Neuville on Friday

Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen leads Rally Germany at the conclusion of day one, emerging on top of a three-way fight

Mikkelsen led after the morning's pair of stages on the first full asphalt event of the World Rally Championship season, but after setting the pace on SS3, the re-run of the rally-opening Mittelmosel stage, he dropped time on SS4 to team-mate Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville - ending the stage just 4.7 seconds ahead of third-placed Ogier.

Frenchman Ogier then won the afternoon's final stage, the Ollmuth superspecial, but was only 0.4s faster than his VW team-mate, who carries a 4.3s lead into the second day.

Neuville dropped behind Ogier with the fourth-fastest time through SS5, but remains within six seconds of the lead and 1.6s behind the second Polo R WRC.

Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo will also enter the second day in the hunt in the second i20 WRC, 6.8s behind Neuville, after a strong afternoon.

Ott Tanak ended the day some way behind that leading battle, the best part of a minute down on Mikkelsen, but content with his the way his Ford Fiesta's DMACK tyres had performed throughout the leg.

Citroen's sole representative Stephane Lefebvre is sixth after a mature, conservative run in the morning's trickier conditions, and ended the day 25s clear of M-Sport's Mads Ostberg.

Hayden Paddon sits eighth despite a day of struggles in the third Hyundai.

The New Zealander picked up a puncture on the second stage of the day, Moselland, and then suffered a "massive moment" on SS3 through a downhill left-hander while in sixth gear, ripping the rear bumper from his i20.

Paddon ended the day 1m45s off the pace, but just 12.6s behind Ostberg's Fiesta.

Retirements for VW's Jari-Matti Latvala and M-Sport's Eric Camilli allowed WRC2 leader Armin Kremer to occupy ninth at the end of the day.

Having led from the start, Kremer heads title hopeful Esapekka Lappi by 28.4s.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS5:

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