Team-mates Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen topped the Rally Sweden leaderboard after Friday morning’s snowy loop of cross-border speed tests.
Fastest time in Norway’s Svullrya special stage and second in the following Röjden test propelled Neuville into a 3.7sec lead over his Hyundai i20 colleague as competitors returned to Torsby for service.
Despite suffering with a cold, Neuville took advantage of better conditions created by the early starters, who lost time after ploughing heavy snow.
“The road is getting better and better with each car and I tried to use my advantage,” explained the Belgian. “With our road position we knew we could be faster than the guys ahead, but we didn’t expect to be faster than the guys behind.”